Sarah Brightman (born 14 August 1960 in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire) is an English soprano and actress.
Brightman is the oldest of six children. Her ambition to be an artist was clear from a very early age. She often took ballet lessons and was an excellent student.
In 1978 she joined the dance group Pan's People. She later went on to lead Hot Gossip, a mixed dance act who appeared regularly on The Kenny Everett Video Show. The group, who were somewhat more 'raunchy' than Pan's People, had a chart-topping disco hit in this year with "I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper", wherein she first discovered her vocal talents.
In 1981, Brightman tried out for a role in the then-new musical Cats. It was there that she met her future husband, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. She got the part. Lloyd Webber divorced his first wife to marry Brightman in 1984. She went on to star in a number of his musicals, including Aspects of Love and The Phantom of the Opera which was written specifically for her. Fame as an actress came at a price, however. The theatre-goers refused to give Brightman the credit she felt she deserved, saying that the only reason for her success was that she was the wife of Lloyd Webber. The two divorced in 1990, but relations have remained cordial.
In 1991, Brightman met her future producer and boyfriend, Frank Peterson. With Peterson's help, Brightman would become an international star. Their first collaboration on a major label release (with A&M records) was Dive (1993), a water themed pop album featuring the hit 'Captain Nemo'. The album was far from a flop, but its success was small compared to achievements soon to come.
Fly (1995), a pop/rock album, propelled Sarah Brightman to fame in Europe with the hit 'A Question of Honour'. The song was introduced at the World Boxing Championship match of Germans Henry Maske and Graciano Rocchigiani and featured a compelling mix of dance music, rock elements, classical strings, and Brightman's operatic vocals from 'La Wally'.
Between Fly and her next album, a single song catapulted Sarah onto the world stage. 'Time to Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)' was the second Brightman song debuted for Maske, this time at his retirement match. This fully classical-styled duet with tenor Andrea Bocelli sold more than 4 million copies in Germany alone, the biggest selling single there to date, and a bestseller in numerous other countries. This triumph gave Sarah the confidence to fully take on the challenges that classical music and opera had to offer.
Timeless (1997) contained the worldwide phenomenon 'Time to Say Goodbye' and other classically inspired tracks such as "Just Show Me How To Love You" (with José Cura), a cover of the Queen hit "Who Wants to Live Forever", and "Tu Quieres Volver", originally by the Gipsy Kings, made this album one of her most popular.
While Brightman's capabilities as a pop and later as a classical singer would bring her some renown, it was her inspired creative partnership with Frank Peterson on subsequent albums that have and continue to cement her worldwide success. The vocal-electronic sound of Enigma, with whom Peterson started his career, has been expanded to become a distinct meld of classical, pop, and electronic sensibilities. Brightman's mega-selling albums Eden (1998), La Luna (2000), and Harem (2003) represent the successive incarnations of this Brightman-Peterson formula. The subsequent, and ever larger scale live tours for each of these albums have successfully incorporated the theatricality of Sarah Brightman's stage origins to please audiences.