Broadway star Sarah Brightman
lends her ethereal, angelic vocals to another combination of classical and pop, resulting in a solid, stirring collection. This outing, the ex-Mrs. Andrew Lloyd Webber
adapts Rachmaninov ("How Fare This Spot"), Beethoven ("Figlio Perduto"), and Handel ("Solo Con Te") alongside the brothers Gibb and Simon and Garfunkel. The uncanny thing is how canny Brightman
is at bridging the contemporary with the classics so that they seem timeless. She brings touches of adult contemporary, rock, and even, surprisingly enough, techno to the mix; some of these songs, "Here With Me" in particular, are crying out to be remixed as dance songs. Her crystalline soprano leads you on a sentimental journey through "Scarborough Fair" then lilts through a playful "Hijo de la Luna" without missing a beat. Especially successful is the last track, "First of May," as it was recorded live in South Africa. It shows that Brightman
's talent doesn't need the production so many contemporary vocalists need to sound phenomenal. There is something melancholy in her expressive voice and in the production of each song on this album, so that even if you don't understand the language of the lyrics, you're left feeling a bit nostalgic, and the effect is not that of much of the plastic A/C market but one of genuine emotion. She doesn't manipulate you into feeling; she actually moves you. Overall, this album achieves some beautiful highs without being over the top.