Sarah Brightman Holds Court at Honda Center

Sarah Brightman Performs at Honda Center. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

On Saturday night, Sarah Brightman and a respectable group of supporting musicians performed at the Honda Center. This stop in Anaheim was part of Brightman’s Hymn tour, which began in São Paulo, Brazil, after the album’s release in early November. The pop / classical diva’s appearance had summoned a decently-sized crowd at the venue — a crowd which included many fans who’d been following Brightman’s career since she starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical of The Phantom of the Opera.

Brightman’s newest album continues the diva’s trend of fusing classical and pop music, and the show, itself, was comprised of a cross-section of material from the album as well as highlights from her oeuvre. As for the spectacle, the stage was covered with prop organ pipes, which conjured a slightly churchy feeling — no doubt the image was meant as an extension of the religious theme of the album’s title song — but they also struck this reporter as a nod to the singer’s distinct [vocal] pipes.

Sarah Brightman Performs at Honda Center. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

Throughout the show, the stage and the pipes were lit creatively for the various songs — to the point where the tips of the pipes were illuminated to make them look like gigantic candles. Brightman, herself, changed outfits frequently throughout the show; one of the highlights being a flowing white gown, which she used to great effect to disappear in and mimic the slow movement of the walls of fog that were churned out of the fog machines and, ultimately, enveloping the first several rows of audience members. For that particular number, Brightman was singing her arrangement of Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever,” which was particularly well-recieved given the recent popularity of the Freddie Mercury bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Flanked by a very impressive collection of choral, orchestral, and band musicians, it is difficult to select highlights of the virtuoso performer’s hybrid classical / pop show, although recognition must be given to her outstanding guest vocalists, Vincent Niclo and Narcis Iustin Ianău — each of whom performed a solo number after appearing onstage to support Brightman, and each of whom continued to sing duets with her throughout the evening.

Sarah Brightman Performs at Honda Center. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

Among the greatest crowdpleasers of the roughly two and a half hour show were: “Stranger in Paradise,” “Anytime, Anywhere,” “Miracle,” “Sogni,” “Pie Jesu,” “Running,” and, of course, “The Phantom of the Opera.” Brightman finished off the show with a three-song encore, consisting of “Deliver Me,” “Ave Maria,” and “A Question of Honour.” It is gratifying to experience a singer of Brightman’s caliber, who has been surrounded by a first class theatrical experience for several decades and who still has the ability to make jaws drop with her incredible vocal range.

6 Replies to “Sarah Brightman Holds Court at Honda Center”

  1. Indeed, she’s simply magnificent. I had the privilege to attend her opening show Hymn on november24th in Sao Paulo-Brazil, and til now I am dreaming about the show and her impecable performance. All her shows I attended gave the same feeling, I really good one. I am really expecting the next one 🙂

  2. I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to see her when she was locally performing but I take satisfaction that I downloaded HYMN and that I saw her in the Phantom in Toronto many years ago.

  3. I saw her in San Diego and absolutely loved the show! I can’t get over Narcis Iustin Ianau’s amazing countertenor voice as well.

  4. My husband and I saw the show at Radio City on Feb.6 and throughly enjoyed it. We’ve seen all of her concerts going back to the late nineties at and think this is probably our favorite once since Harem. It was a great mix of music, Ms. Brightman was in top form and looked fabulous, and her guest singers were excellent. The only downside was the lighting. We had fantastic center orchestra seats but were often blinded by the spotlight that heralded each of Ms. Brightman’s stage entrances. We heard many people complaining angrily to the light and sound technicians after the show and I hope this was an issue that has since been addressed.

  5. Ms Brightman’s voice was great… the choir and orchestra, even the male tenor and soprano singers with her were amazing. But THE VIEW was horrible. She couldn’t have one camera close to the stage so everyone in the back rows can actually see her and not just her sparkling dresses…The fact that there was NO BIG SCREEN to see Sarah was dissapointing. We had a difficult time seeing her, the security guards were often walking around… From what we heard from the security people, Sarah was very insistant on the “no photos or videos” so the guards were always walking around and in front of us… that was a not great. So for the price of the tickets that we paid, I think that the quality of the show was good…There is no denying her vocal talent.. The you-tube video of the performance was better. Thank you Sarah . You are an Angel of Music! … but we just hoped for a better quality environment. Big screens like Celine, Barbara and Gaga . Remember the people in the back rows are paying for the experience also, and it wasn’t cheap.

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