Sarah Brightman has unveiled a new full-length album, Hymn, and has announced her latest world tour, Hymn: Sarah Brightman in Concert. To enhance her world of enchantment, Brightman has partnered with Swarovski; her elaborate costumes and dazzling tiaras will be composed of the precision-cut crystals for her world tour.
Though it’s been five years since Sarah Brightman last released a studio album – 2013’s classical chart-topper Dreamchaser – the world’s best-selling soprano has hardly been idle. Not only did Brightman perform over 100 concerts on five continents to support Dreamchaser, but she also took her Gala: An Evening with Sarah Brightman tour to Asia and Mexico in 2016 and the 22-date Royal Christmas Gala tour to Europe in 2017. For both tours, she performed songs from her most-beloved albums, Timeless, Eden, and La Luna, and the multiplatinum soundtrack to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, which celebrated its 30th anniversary on Broadway during 2018. Webber was inspired to write the role of Christine Daaé for Brightman – who was already well-known after releasing several hit singles as a solo artist – upon seeing her standout performance as Jemima in the original London cast of Cats.
In early 2016, German composer and producer Frank Peterson, with whom she had celebrated some of her greatest successes, began talking to Brightman about making a new album. ‘He kept calling me and saying, “Look, it’s time,”’ she recalls. ‘But I didn’t know what I wanted to do.’
Brightman, who had intended to launch on a future orbital spaceflight mission to the International Space Station, had halted her cosmonaut training in Russia, which left her feeling vulnerable and depleted. ‘It was quite hard for me to bring myself down to earth again psychologically,’ she says. ‘I went to Florida to lie on the beach, work with an opera coach, and get myself back into a normal pattern again. During this time, Frank and I came to the conclusion that we should do something that sounded very beautiful and uplifting. That was the start of it. So, we started looking at songs that we both felt good about – and suddenly we were working together again and it all felt familiar.’
Peterson reminded Brightman that audiences flocked to her because of ‘the beauty in her voice’ and that, after mounting a technically complex tour filled with elaborate visuals and effects behind the science-minded Dreamchaser, a return to something simpler in nature, something spiritual and emotionally connected, might be just the thing to ease the inertia she was feeling. ‘I said, “Okay, you went the science route, let’s try something different,’’’ Peterson says. ‘It wasn’t calculated in any way; it simply felt right to both of us.’
The result is the spiritually themed Hymn – an inspirational collection of orchestrated, choir-based songs that Brightman says felt soothing to record after she came down to earth ‘with an enormous bump,’ as she puts it. ‘I think musicians in particular start from whatever it is they’re going through.’
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