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Sarah Brightman, depending on who you ask, is best known for one of three things: playing Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, being a classical crossover singer, or appearing in Repo! The Genetic Opera. This is a consequence of her reinventing herself enough times to rival Madonna (or perhaps David Bowie). A chronology:
The disco era. Yes, there was an era before Phantom. In her late teens, she and the British dance troupe Hot Gossip scored a hit with the song "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper," which is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin and an attempt to cash in on the popularity of Star Wars and similar space films that came out during this time. She released many solo singles as well.
The Musical Theatre era. Long story short, she met Andrew Lloyd Webber while soloing on his Requiem album, married him, and starred in a number of his musicals, most famously as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera -- a part written specifically for her. Much tabloid attention was had.
The early solo era. Brightman and Webber eventually divorced -- more tabloid attention was had -- and she released several now-obscure, rather uneven solo albums such as "As I Came Of Age." All this pales in comparison to:
The Frank Peterson era. Around the early '90s, Brightman heard the work of Enigma, liked it a lot, and got in touch with one member of the group, Frank Peterson. He has been her producer ever since (and was her boyfriend for much of the decade.) Her albums since then include:
- Dive: Water-themed, unsurprisingly, and somewhat of a transition from the early solo era. Most fans consider it to be somewhat uneven.
- Fly: A rock/electronic album, the likes of which she has never recorded since. Also contains one of her first classical crossover singles, "A Question of Honor."
- Eden: Her first true "classical crossover" album.
- La Luna: Like Eden, but more ethereal. Moon-themed.
- Harem: Middle Eastern-themed and more influenced by electronic and dance music.
- Symphony: Classical crossover again.
Provides examples of:
- Adaptation Dye Job: Sarah Brightman is the reason why Christine is brunette in the Andrew Lloyd Webber version of Phantom of the Opera, not blonde as in the book.
- Break Up Song: "Free," "So Many Things"
- Christmas Songs: On A Winter Symphony, an entire album of them.
- Concept Album: Most of her earlier albums would qualify.
- Cover Version: She does a lot of them.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: Many of her covers, but averted with "Tu", originally by Mecano. In effect, she's singing it to a woman.
- Elegant Classical Musician
- Epic Rocking: Many of her songs, such as "A Question of Honor" and "Arabian Nights," are fairly long with several distinct sections. (In Arabian Nights, they're specifically delineated.)
- Greatest Hits Album: Several.
- Hotter and Sexier: "Once In A Lifetime" was rewritten from its original version by Frank Peterson's old project Gregorian. This was the effect.
- Intercourse with You: Surprisingly, a lot of it. "Once In A Lifetime" is probably the most blatant example.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: While in a relationship with Frank Peterson, she had an ectopic pregnancy and two miscarriages. Ouch.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Once in a Lifetime."
- Mistaken for Cheating: "Hijo de la Luna." A gypsy woman makes a deal with the moon to find her a husband, as long as she agrees to give up her first-born child in return. The baby ends up as pale as the moon. Bad things happen.
- Murder Ballad: "Hijo de la Luna" counts as one, but her folk-ballad album The Trees They Grow So High is unusual for NOT containing these.
- The Muse: To Andrew Lloyd Webber, arguably to Frank Peterson.
- New Sound Album: At least three times in her career.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Many of her costumes.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Her concerts are famous for these. Just one glorious example.
- Sampling: An interesting variation; a lot of her early work contains samples from songs off "Sadisfaction," an earlier Frank Peterson album. See also "Spoken Word in Music", below.
- Shout-Out: Over half the lyrics of "I Loved You"; a few in "As I Came Of Age".
- Soprano and Gravel: Most of her non-classical duets end up like this, particularly anything involving Chris Thompson.
- Spoken Word in Music: "I Loved You" samples a Ronald Reagan speech.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: A rendition of the Trope Namer ballad is on her album "The Trees They Grow So High."
- To the Tune Of: "Running" is set to Holst's "Jupiter". "Figlio Perduto" is set to Beethoven. "Schwere Traume" is set to Mahler. It's a crapshoot whether these are credited or not.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: Several songs -- "The War Is Over" for one.
- WTH? Casting Agency: Her role as Blind Mag, a famous opera star in Repo! The Genetic Opera. According to the writer and associate producer of the movie, Terrance Zdunich, pretty much everybody involved in production was surprised as hell when Brightman was asked to be in the film on a total long shot...and she thought the role sounded like fun.