Sarah Brightman is an internationally well-known soprano whose activity in several musical genres places her among the leading crossover artists of her time. Her light soprano voice is attractive and chameleonic: conductor David Caddick has observed that Brightman actually possesses two rather distinctive voices: one for pop-oriented music and the other for more serious fare. She has sung Broadway, operetta, popular and contemporary music, rock, Gregorian chant, and operatic arias. Much of the Broadway music she has performed was written for her by Andrew Lloyd Webber, her former husband. She starred in the premieres of The Phantom of the Opera and Aspects of Love and has appeared in numerous other Lloyd Webber musicals and works. Brightman has made frequent television appearances, especially on the BBC in England and PBS in the U.S. She has recorded prolifically for EMI, Angel Records, Manhattan Records, Decca Broadway, and Polygram UK.
Sarah Brightman was born in Berkhamsted, England, on August 14, 1960. At three she was dancing and at 16 she became a member of the dance troupe Pan’s People, who regularly appeared on the BBC’s Top of the Pops. Brightman’s first hit was the 1978 disco song “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper,” made with the dance group Hot Gossip.
In 1981 Brightman appeared in Lloyd Webber’s Cats as Jemima. Three years later she married the composer, and in 1986 appeared in The Phantom of the Opera as Christine, a role specifically conceived for her. Though the two divorced in 1990, Brightman continued to regularly sing Lloyd Webber works in concert.
After hit albums Dive (1993) and Fly (1995) Brightman was a front-rank international star. In 1997 her fame broadened in the U.S. with her appearance on an Andrea Bocelli special on PBS, where she sang a duet with Bocelli of her then-new hit “Time to Say Goodbye.” The following March, PBS aired a special devoted to Brightman herself, Sarah Brightman in Concert at Royal Albert Hall.
In 2001 the versatile singer turned out Classics (EMI), a CD of operatic and classical works, and two years later she branched out further with Harem (Angel Records), a recording featuring Middle Eastern music. Brightman’s 2007 appearance in the Concert for Diana featured her in a duet with Josh Groban singing “All I Ask of You.” Her first album in five years appeared in 2008 with the Manhattan Records CDSymphony.