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Sarah Brightman at the Fox Theatre, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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Sarah Brightman wants to be an agent for healing in the world right now.

The British singer -- known for her work in ex-husband Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals such as "Cats" and "The Phantom of the Opera" -- came out last November with "Hymn," her 12th studio album and first in five years. She worked on the spiritually based set with a variety of producers, mostly regular collaborator Frank Peterson, and recorded in England, Germany, Canada and the U.S., with choir accompaniment prominent throughout the 13 tracks.

"Hymn" debuted atop the Billboard Classical Albums chart and hit the Top 10 in countries such as Australia and South Korea. It was accompanied by a PBS concert special, filmed in Bavaria, Germany, and also shown in theaters. It's the latest achievement in a recording career that’s led to more than 180 Gold and Platinum albums in 40 countries and a more than a dozen other awards from the U.K. to Japan./ She's also received two special citations from UNESCO. Her duet partners over the years have included Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Josh Groban, Tom Jones, Anne Murray and, in the oddball "Repo! the Genetic Opera," Paris Hilton.

One of her big hits is "Time to Say Goodbye," but "Hymn" makes it clear that Brightman has a great deal to say, now and in the future...

• Brightman, 58, says by phone that she was missing a sense of "mission" after 2013's "Dreamcatcher" album, though "Hymn" didn't start to take shape until Peterson, who's produced eight of her albums, rang her up in 2016. "He said, 'How are you feeling? Talk to me about stuff,' and I did. He said, 'It really would be lovely to sing some pieces that are very uplifting, that are not dangerous in any way, something sort of about hope and future and all of these things.' So we got together and started working on different things, and we came up with this album, which was an absolute delight to work on."

• Brightman and Peterson carefully selected the songs from "Hymns," guided by the message the producer pitched in his phone call. "I wanted to sing something very familiar, something close, something that could be religious or spiritual," Brightman says. "Those are things that make me feel centered. I feel like right now a lot of people are not feeling centered and don't quite who where they are or what's going to happen. There's a lot of upheaval and confusion in the world right now. So as an artist I went to a place where I feel centered, and this is what I ended up with."

• Brightman structured the Hyman World Tour show to follow suit with the album. "Obviously there's lots of humans in this show. “I had enough of energy screens on the last tour. This one is going to be very human, full of lots of musicians and beautiful lighting." German jewel maker Swarovski provided crystals for Brightman's costumes and tiaras, as well as for a line of merchandise that will accompany the tour.

• Earlier in the decade Brightman had voiced a desire and was even training for a civilian mission on the International Space Station. But now, she says, "I put everything on hold. I felt better to wait for it at the moment. It's not out of the question, still, but it's a big undertaking so I want to make sure the time is right and everything is together in order to do it."

• Brightman isn't hazarding a guess about what her next project will be -- or when it might come. "People often say, 'Why do you take so long to make an album -- three years, five years?' It's because it's very important to me. It's like when you go into a museum and you see all those paintings. They're part of that painter's spirit at that time. That's what is communicated to you. It's about human beings and their spirit within that work. So I don't just go in and sing some songs and put them out as a record. I feel it and work on it until I feel like it's the thing I most want to express at that point in time."

Sarah Brightman with Vincent Niclo and Narcis Iustin Ianau perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave. Detroit. $40 and up. 313-471-6611 or 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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