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Music Review: Sarah Brightman – Symphony

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Written by General Jabbo

Crossover superstar, Sarah Brightman, returns with Symphony, her first album of new material in five years. Recorded in Germany, and produced by longtime producer, Frank Peterson, Symphony is an exciting mix of classical, pop, and rock.

The album opens with the eerie “Gothica,” which serves as the perfect intro for the surprisingly hard rock “Fleurs du Mal,” inspired by French Poet Charles Baudelaire’s poems of the same name. The heavy guitars and Brightman’s breathtaking vocals are an ideal match for a song whose name translates to “flowers of evil.”

The title track is a lush power ballad with soaring vocals not unlike a Celine Dion production, but more powerful. Once again, rock guitars mix with classical instruments and a chorus of heavenly voices to create something stunning.
On “Sanvean,” Brightman covers Dead Can Dance, doing justice to Lisa Gerrard’s haunting original vocal.

The album features four duets, the first of which is “Canto Della Terra,” where Brightman is reunited with Andrea Bocelli. Sung in Italian, “Canto” is a beautiful love song, with Bocelli’s powerful vocals contrasting with Brightman’s delicate verses until both cut loose at the end with a huge chorus to bring the song to its dramatic finale.

Brightman is joined by fellow Phantom of the Opera alumnus, Paul Stanley of Kiss, on “I Will Be With You (Where the Lost Ones Go).” Though not written by Stanley, “I Will Be With You” is a rock ballad that would be at home on Stanley’s underrated Live to Win CD. Brightman originally performed the song with Chris Thompson as the theme song to, oddly enough, Pokemon Movie 10: The Rise of Darkrai.

On “Sarai Qui,” Brightman is joined by Italian tenor, Alessandro Safina. “Sarai Qui” mixes classical with pop to great effect, even changing keys on the last chorus like so many great pop songs. Penned by pop songstress, Diane Warren, it is easily the best track on the disc. “Pasión” finds Brightman joined by Spanish counter tenor, Fernando Lima. Brightman and Lima’s voices blend beautifully on this tender ballad with Latin overtones and Spanish guitar.

With “Running” Brightman reminds the listener why she is the only artist to hold the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Classical and Dance charts at the same time. The song opens with a beautiful classical vocal, before tribal drum rhythms take over midway through the song only to finish with Brightman’s soprano set against violins and classical instruments. A hidden track reprising the theme of “Fleurs du Mal” brings the album to a dramatic close.

The CD features lavish packaging worthy of such a big production. The photos have a gothic theme and feature Brightman as a blonde. On Symphony, Brightman mixes enough styles to make the listener say, “why not?” The results are incredibly powerful and worth a listen.

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  • Sarah Brightman needs a new set designer it seems. How can one describe a stage set which ultimately takes a leading lady away from her audience?

    There are few labors of love whose passion and dedication to the craft of theatre embody the true nobility of the set designers and production crew. It’s one thing to steer and guide a talented production crew towards the creative of a lavish set. But to pour possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars into the creation of what is ultimately, a gigantic tele-prompter, fashioned from metal and reflective plastic, seems more like a major catastrophe.

    First and foremost is the inexcusable fact that for nearly 7 numbers, (roughly a half hour of the show ) Sarah Brightman completely & utterly disappeared, eclipsed behind the gargantuan metallic behemoth! Is this a magic show Sarah? I don’t think so…

    Such disappearing acts did not go over will with the audience, frustrated patrons were heard repeatedly yelling at the stage, “We can’t see you! We can’t see you Sarah!” It was infuriating.

    When Sarah was actually utilizing the reflective element of the set, which entailed her disappearing (yet again) into a giant pit with her female dancing troup. Those who could actually see were no doubt treated to a visual feast of Sarah and her throng performing all manner of Busby Berkley style antics being reflected back up onto the steel and plastic set.

    Trouble was, if you were sitting just about anyplace other than the main floor area, you’d either lose the illusion completely, or lose Sarah behind the gigantic metallic frame which she seemed to flee behind constantly, twas truly maddening…

    She does have quite a beautiful, delicate yet powerful voice… she has kept it up well.

  • C-lo

    Canto Della Terra is quite possibly the finest recording ever made. Sarah Brightman is always at her best. That alone places her ahead of the crowd. However, this CD still stands tall. There is not another like her.