Soprano Sarah Brightman's new CD/DVD set Diva is a compilation of past performances, and although the two pieces can be purchased separately, there is enough variety in the songs included on each component to make buying both a move to consider. The CD contains 14 songs, 10 of which are also on the DVD, and the DVD includes 21 tunes, so 11 of them are not on the CD. (Confused? See the listing at the bottom.)
If you're a fan of this singing star and already possess every album she's ever made, then you probably have all the songs on the CD - but you still might want the DVD. That would allow you to not only enjoy the many different looks on the videos but also to see your favorite singer give an extensive on-camera introduction to each, complete with her reminiscences. (There's also a bonus available at her website.)
Both the CD and the DVD are well-packaged and attractive, with glossy liner notes. They are a little stingy on info but chock full of pictures of Sarah in her various guises - and as fans know, that's quite an assortment. She's almost chameleon-like in her ability to change her look via costumes and makeup, and of course her natural maturing over the years adds to the mix. Now in her mid-forties, she's actually been performing since she was a teenager, but all of these performances are from her last 20 years, the period of her stardom.
The CD wisely opens with "Phantom Of The Opera", the main theme from the show that made her a star. It was written for her by her then husband, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and is compelling although I wasn't particularly fond of ex-rocker Steve Harley's supporting vocals. I enjoyed later duets more than this one, especially "Just Show Me How To Love You" with Argentinean tenor José Cura, whose gorgeous voice perfectly complements Sarah's. And of course we can't forget the mega-hit "Time To Say Goodbye" with Andrea Bocelli, which is included on both the CD and DVD.
The 2nd cut on the CD, "Music Of The Night", another big hit from Phantom, probably showcases Sarah's voice more fully than any other song from the show. I also enjoyed her interpretation of "Scarborough Fair", which appears only on the CD, and "A Whiter Shade Of Pale", which is on both components. One cut that was — let's say interesting — was "It's A Beautiful Day", which builds around a familiar theme from Puccini but ranges far and wide and occasionally loses its way.