Talkback: Exclusive Interview with Sarah Brightman

BEIJING - AUGUST 08: Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan sing on top of a large globe during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Often credited with inventing a new and groundbreaking genre called ‘classical crossover’ or ‘popera’, Ms. Brightman is known for her eclectic blending of classical, opera, gothic rock, and pop. Here, an exclusive interview

Soprano Sarah Brightman recently dazzled the world with her performance at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics and plans to launch an eight-week international tour this November.’s Cynthia Cravit had the opportunity for an exclusive interview with Ms. Brightman on her experience at the Olympics, her upcoming world tour and why she can’t imagine ever retiring.

On the Olympics

Q. Music, like sports, can be a great unifier — and according to media reports, the opening ceremony was broadcast to over five billion viewers. Share
with us what you were thinking and feeling while performing on that stage, which must have felt like the top of the world. (Note: For those who didn’t
see the performance, Sarah performed a duet with Chinese singer Liu Huan from the top of a huge globe as fireworks exploded across Beijing.)

A. Performing at the opening ceremony was definitely a very moving experience. So many people were involved to pull this off… and to see their passion
and joy made it all the more meaningful. And as to the globe (on the stage) it was definitely the highest place where I’ve ever performed!

Q. When you received the invitation to perform, I understand there was quite a bit of drama involved? After all, the song was one of the more closely held
secrets of the opening ceremony, along with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

 A. I found out about the performance only a few days before I could catch a plane and go to China. It was very, very secret, and of course, a lot to put
together in a very short period of time.

About the world tour

Q. By now, your audiences have come to expect a certain theatrical aspect to your performances. Can you give us an idea of what we can expect this time around?

A. Actually, this tour will involve technology that’s never been used before — which basically involves creating 3-dimensional worlds right on a stage. It’s a bit of a risk because of how involved it is, but it is so amazing and interesting that I had to take the risk and move forward with
it. But I don’t want to say exactly how it will work — I don’t want to ruin the surprise!

On Winter Symphony

 Q. You’ve enjoyed tremendous success with Symphony, which was released earlier this year. Talk to us about your newest album Winter Symphony.

 A. What I tried to do with this album ties in with how very special I find this time of year. The holidays are very important to me in a Christian sense,
but also as an exciting, fun time for families and friends. What I wanted to achieve with this album was to create a way to bring all of these elements to
people: a sense of the sacred and the value of family, but also a sense of fun and celebration.

On being a Zoomer

Q. Finally, a word about reinvention, which certainly resonates with our readers who are mainly baby boomers and 50plus — or Zoomers as Moses Znaimer has
called us — and for whom reinvention and innovation are increasingly replacing ‘retirement’. What drives you to keep pushing forward and trying new things?

A. I’ve been fortunate to be able to concentrate on my passion — music and the arts. I’m in my late 40s, and I love being the age that I am! I look forward to the
future because I know I have so much more to offer… I can’t imagine not ever working.