One Night in EdenBy Seth Bisen-Hersh
October 8 and 9, 1999
The Wang Theatre
270 Tremont St.
There are many different kinds of concerts: classical, broadway, pop. Put them all together, add choreography, spectacular lighting, and colorful costumes and you get Sarah Brightman’s One Night in Eden. Best known for being the original Christine DaaÉ in The Phantom of the Opera and also for being the former Mrs. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ms. Brightman created an eclectic evening of many different styles.
I’m just going to say it: Sarah Brightman is amazing. Any words I could come up to describe her soaring soprano would be an understatement. I believe I speak for the entire audience when I say that if she had simply worn one dress and just stood there singing to us the entire night, we would have still been swept away. However, Brightman decided to treat the audience to special lights, sets, costumes and even choreography. Also, she perfored songs from a myriad of genres segueing from classical right into pop music and vice versa. And she handled every song beautifully.
First of all, the show opened with, unsurprisingly, a grand entrance for Brightman. Her six male dancers came out and danced around, leaving the center open, and voila, the curtain opened and there she was in a dazzling gown while stretched out on a bed. It was from there that she sang her first classical piece of the evening. The rest of the first act consisted of mostly classical songs with a few pop songs thrown in. She sang a smashing rendition of “Who wants to Live Forever?” as the lights flickered all around her. Other effects included her ascending a large staircase with a very long dress, turning around and singing as fans blew her hair back. Every single effect was breathtaking, which is really quite amazing considering that this was a concert, not a show.
The highlight of Act One was Brightman’s rendition of Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu.” It was actually quite a relief to hear a song I knew. Everything she had sung up to that point was simply lovely, but I was very glad to hear her sing something I knew from her repertoire. Although she performed the song alone, without a little boy and a huge chorus, it was still amazing. Brightman is very well trained. When she sings, she knows exactly where to put the sound so that it travels flawlessly from her mouth to our ears. The sound was so immensely focused that it resonated throughout the vast Wang Theatre especially the higher she went. For her Act One finale, she sang her highest note of the evening which sent the audience immediately into a giant ovation as the curtain closed.
Act Two of Brightman’s performance was much more contemporary. There were still many splendid effects, though. The best effect of the evening was when she sang “Captain Nemo” and simulated being underwater. This was accomplished by having her half-floating, half-flying up above the stage behind a blue, rippling scrim.
I would have to say that the low point of the evening was her rendition of “The Heart Will Go On” in Italian. Not that she wasn’t great, but I really do think I’m sick of that song although it being in Italian was a nice change. In any case, the low point was soon followed by the major high points of the evening. They began with a medley of Brightman’s songs from The Phantom of the Opera. Brightman started with a few of her recitatives and then sang a powerful rendition of “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.” It was just amazing. There is just no other word for it.
Brightman’s finale for the evening was the renowned love song Lloyd Webber had written for her, “The Music of the Night.” Her version was thrilling. Before she hit any of the high notes, Brightman would start on the note an octave lower for an instant and then seamlessly connect the higher note. The two encores were the final high points of the evening. The songs just got better and better. She did Evita’s “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” and then the title song from her new CD, “It’s Time to Say Goodbye.” After all three of these songs, she received a massive standing ovation from the virtually sold-out Wang Theatre.
Sarah Brightman is amazing. If you ever get the chance to see her in anything, be it a show or concert or whatever, go to it. She is beyond a doubt one of the best sopranos who ever lived. Her style and love of many musical styles adds to her appeal and charming personality. Her beauty and beautiful singing voice will enrapture you. You, too, will get to join her on her journey to Eden.