Sarah Brightman brings “A Christmas Symphony” to the Hanover Theater

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WORCESTER – It’s a somewhat different start for Sarah Brightman, the English soprano, actress and dancer who played Christine on stage in “Phantom of the Opera” and who brought her “Harem World Tour” to the DCU Center in 2004.

Brightman, the world’s best-selling soprano, heads to the United States to embark on a 17-stop tour with a Christmas-themed performance accompanied by an orchestra and choir with a program that will include performances of classics from Christmas canon, holiday favorites and his biggest hits.

“Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony” will be at the Hanover Theater and Conservatory for the Performing Arts for a performance at 7:30 pm on December 1st.

“This is the first time I’ve done this kind of show in the United States,” Brightman said in a phone interview while at her home in London before the tour.

In contrast, Brightman came from a large family (the oldest of six children) and always loved Christmas. In 2008, she released a holiday album titled “A Winter Symphony” which included “Silent Night” and “I Believe in Father Christmas” (or Santa, as he is known in the United States).

And doing a vacation-style show is one way to help people feel normal again, Brightman noted.

“We have all been through a special time,” she said of the pandemic. “I think people want a sense of normalcy back. Have fun. Just be normal again.”

“A Christmas Symphony Tour” was scheduled to begin November 26 at the Wind Creek Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa., And end December 21, and end at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans.

Brightman had previously toured everywhere with “Hymn In Concert,” in support of his 2018 album “Hymn,” an eclectic outing with the title track a 1977 song by revered but now rather obscure English band Barclay James Harvest. Brightman’s beautifully produced rendition of “Hymn” is sublime.

“Hymn in Concert” was scheduled to come to the Hanover Theater in October 2020, but the tour was halted due to the pandemic.

Then, on December 20, 2020, Brightman presented its very first global live streaming event, “Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony” from historic Christ Church Spitalfields in London. Special guests were ex-husband and “Phantom of the Opera” co-creator Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as Aled Jones and Choir Gregorian. The songs included “Silent Night” and “Christmas Dream” (music by Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice.)

“Last year I was able to employ people again. Do something again,” Brightman said. “I got such a great response. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to pursue him next year.”

Sarah Brightman says she hopes doing a vacation-style show will help people feel normal again, following the disruption of the pandemic.

In addition to the US tour, PBS last year aired “Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Special” on television stations throughout the holiday season. (She’s one of the most popular artists to appear on PBS.)

The tour, however, “will have a lot more to do,” Brightman said. Last year’s special lasted less than an hour. The traveling show lasts approximately two hours.

Brightman is well known for his spectacular shows called “a feast for the eyes”.

With the traveling show “Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony”, in addition to the orchestra and the choir, she aims for a certain atmosphere.

“We want that Christmas look – beauty and fun – that kind of feeling,” she said.

As for the music, with a selection such as “Silent Night,” “Everyone loves it,” Brightman said. Likewise, “Oh Holy Night.”

“I think it’s going to be really great. It’s just going to be very different.”

Filming in the United States, on the other hand, will also have a sense of familiarity.

She said she had toured the United States extensively “Many times since 1984 or about 85. I’ve always enjoyed my audience there. I’ve performed in arenas, stadiums, theaters. It’s been a wonderful experience. In the United States, they’re ‘you’re very prepared for that sort of thing.’

In London during the pandemic, Brightman kept in touch with his family while working his voice with his singing coach.

Most recently, “I went to the theater again.” she said. “We have all been very well. “

So now is “a good time to celebrate with a show”.

The COVID Delta variant is still available in England and America, but Brightman said they had taken precautions for the tour.

“We’ve been through it all. Everybody’s been doubly vaccinated and given boosters and stuff like that. We all have to go back and relive life.”

Brightman’s recordings have won over 180 gold and platinum awards in more than 40 countries and she is the only artist to simultaneously dominate the Billboard dance and classical music charts.

She started singing and dancing at the age of 3 and has a unique vocal range of over three octaves. Her voice is soft but “ethereal”, as one writer put it, with the ability “to create moods that devotees describe as from another world”.

Brightman has also been described as a perfectionist.

Her early career included hit disco singles and an appearance on “Cats” in London’s West End, where she met Andrew Lloyd Webber.

In addition to “Phantom of the Opera”, she was on Broadway in “Aspects of Love” by Lloyd Webber.

After years of success in the music scene and a divorce, Brightman decided to make a fresh start and worked with producer Frank Peterson as what has been called “a classic crossover artist”. The first album was “Dive”, a water-themed pop album that featured “Captain Nemo”. Next is the pop rock album “Fly” with its hit track “A Question of Honor” – with electronic strings, rock, classics and excerpts from Alfredo Catalani’s opera “La Wally”. A subsequent single, “Time to Say Goodbye”, a duet with tenor Andrea Bocelli, became an international success, selling 12 million copies worldwide. Subsequent albums including “Eden”, “La Luna”, “Harem” and “Symphony” all became Billboard chart-topping hits and were accompanied by live world tours.

“Harem World Tour” at the DCU Center has been described by Craig S. Semon, reviewer for Telegram & Gazette, as “an elaborate oasis of eye candy, elegant vocals and campy entertainment… Surrounded by eight spinning exotic harem dancers frantically on percussion, Middle – Eastern rhythms, Brightman (as the belly dance queen) shook, shook and sang during the scorching opening, ‘Harem.’ “

It has been said that Brightman doesn’t care much about the “classic crossover” label, but she seemed to agree with the term when asked about it.

“I don’t particularly think about it. I understand why it was there at the time. Different genres didn’t really have that for people like me. They put us in an area called crossover. I don’t mind. . in particular, “she said.

In addition to his world tours, Brightman sang at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

She said her “most unusual experience” was in Inner Mongolia, where “a man who made a lot of money built a symphony hall in the country”.

However, “It doesn’t matter where you are – when you have an audience and you give a great performance, it’s just a happy thing,” she said.

When asked if she would star in a musical again, Brightman said, “If I did, I couldn’t do one of the heaviest musicals I’ve been on stage all the time. a long time, so if I did, I would do it very carefully. But never say never. Something could happen – (where I would say) ‘Oh my God, I would really like to do that.’ “

She still enjoys performing live, as evidenced by the “Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony” tour.

“I wouldn’t (if I didn’t feel it). The audience really understands if a person is passionate on stage. They know that,” Brightman said.

“So I’m always like, ‘The day I don’t feel like playing, I should stop.’ It’s a lot of work to do, so you have to have a passion. “

“Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony”

When: 7:30 p.m. on December 1

Where: Hanover Theater and Conservatory for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester

How much: Tickets cost $ 45, $ 69.50, $ 85, and $ 150, with VIP packages available. (877) 571-7469; www.thehanovertheatre.org. Full details of Hanover Theater security protocols are available at https://thehanovertheatre.org/safetyprotocols


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