DIVA TALK: A Chat With Phantom of the Opera and International Concert Star Sarah Brightman

By Andrew Gans
05 Apr 2013

Hugh Panaro and Sarah Brightman onstage at Phantom of the Opera's 25th anniversary performance.
Photo by Monica Simoes

Question: What are some of the song titles that people might know?
Brightman: It ranges from pieces by Sigur Rós. I don't know if you know the group—Sigur Rós—but they're an Icelandic group. Their work, when you listen to it, it has a very expansive sound. It's one of the reasons I chose to do the pieces… Also "A Song of India," which, of course, is a beautiful classical piece that many, many people know and has been done many times. It has a huge range of pieces in there, so it's been great to work in that way. I've given myself a lot of freedom as usual and dared to go where no others had dared. [Laughs.] It's been fun. I think that the passion in it really shows in the album, so a public, hopefully, that likes my work will subliminally pick up on that.

Question: Recently, Phantom of the Opera celebrated 25 years on Broadway. I wonder, what does it mean to you to have been part of both the London and the Broadway companies of what's one of the most successful musicals ever?
Brightman: Oh, it's a beautiful thing. All artists hope, because we obviously put so much passion into what we do with the characters and everything, to see something go onwards that we've been part of the creation. [It's] just the most wonderful thing. You know, I played the part of Christine, and I'm told I was the muse of it and the idea of the musical happening, and for me to see all the new Christines come up and enjoy the part—even now, all of this time later—is just a great thing. You feel you've done something good in life—you did something—and it's nice. I'm very, very grateful that I've been that person.

Question: At that time in your career, you had done a lot of musical theatre, and then you did Aspects of Love. Was it a conscious decision to move away from theatre or did that happen because other opportunities came about for you?
Brightman: No, opportunities didn't really come for me… What happened was I did make a very conscious decision. I love Andrew's work…[but] I hadn't thought of doing musical theatre, although I'd trained in that area in the arts from a young age upwards… I got into musical theatre because the audition [for Cats] came up, and it was an Andrew Lloyd Webber piece, and I thought, "This looks really, really great. I'm going to try for it." It took me into a path I wasn't expecting, and I enjoyed it at the time… I had done a couple of pieces that weren't Andrew's work, and although I liked doing them, I didn't feel like I was really achieving… I didn't feel good within that [medium], so I decided to go it alone and have a solo career, and it's been wonderful. I've recorded all the things I've been wanting to and have worked in arenas and different kind of places all over the world and had a fabulous career in another way for a while. You know, I hold very dear that time. It was an amazing time for me and incredibly creative, but it sort of couldn't blend. I've gone off to do just different things, which I think is always healthy in an artist's life if you're able to do that.



Question: Do you have any concerts planned for the U.S.?
Brightman: Yes, I'm starting a world tour with the "Dreamchaser" tour, actually in China in June, and I'm doing Japan, and also Korea, and I coming here to the United States with the same tour—well, part of the tour—in September until the end of the year. Canada and Mexico, also.

[For a complete list of tour dates, click here.]

Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.