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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Sarah Brightman In Concert (1997)

"Turn your face away from cold, unfeeling light, and listen to the music of the night."
- Sarah Brightman (from The Music of the Night)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: November 01, 2001

Stars: Sarah Brightman, English National Orchestra, Paul Bateman, conductor
Other Stars: Andrea Bocelli, Andrew Lloyd Webber
Director: David Mallet

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:17m:16s
Release Date: October 16, 2001
UPC: 043396073296
Genre: classical

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A AB+B- D-

DVD Review

Sarah Brightman became a household name with her performances in Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, but she has roots in classical music. Here in a 1997 live performance at London's Royal Albert Hall, she presents renditions of music from both classical and popular genres to provide a nicely rounded musical portrait.

Although the concert starts slowly with Bailero from Songs of the Auvergne, much of the first half of the concert is devoted to classical compositions where Brightman can let loose with her soprano. Puccini's O Mio Babino Caro and Solveig's Song by Grieg come off the best here. Summertime is handled in the same grand operatic manner as the others, which seems a dire misinterpretation and a complete abandonment of the jazz idiom. This is surprising in light of Brightman's roots in musical theater.

The second half of the concert is devoted to musicals and songs in the popular idiom. Not surprisingly, the material that was written for her specifically by Andrew Lloyd Webber comes off best. The numbers from Phantom of the Opera are as expected quite excellent; she also has the opportunity here to do the gorgeous Music of the Night. Although originally written for her, the song was eventually assigned to the Phantom for purposes of the show. Three numbers from West Side Story make it clear that she can do more than Lloyd Webber, however. She also has the opportunity to do a few quieter songs in the second half, so that we aren't overwhelmed by her voice as was too often the case during the earlier part of the program.

Brightman concludes with two encores, during one of which she is joined by classical favorite Andrea Bocelli. The other is the highlight of the program, a sensitive and moving rendition of Don't Cry for Me, Argentina. I don't particularly care for that song myself, but was irresistibly drawn in by Brightman's delicate and longing performance. The 75 minutes pass rather too quickly. Now all we need is a DVD of Phantom of the Opera, featuring Brightman.


Overture Bailero from The Songs of the Auvergne
Chanson Espagnol (Delibes) from Les Filles de Cadiz
O Mio Babbino Caro (Puccini) from Gianni Schicchi
Solveig's Song (Grieg) from Peer Gynt
Summertime (Gershwin) from Porgy and Bess
Pie Jesu (Lloyd Webber) from Requiem
Medley: Somewhere/I Feel Pretty/Tonight from West Side Story
Tu Quieres Volver
Who Wants to Live Forever
Whistle Down the Wind
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (Lloyd Webber) from Phantom of the Opera
The Music of the Night (Lloyd Webber) from Phantom of the Opera
Time to Say Goodbye
Don't Cry for Me Argentina (Lloyd Webber) from Phantom of the Opera

Pay no attention to the writing on the package. The picture is not anamorphic (despite the case saying it is); the audio is PCM, not the stated Dolby Surround; and the track listing on the insert is completely wrong.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: For a live concert, this has a decent picture. Color is excellent and black levels are surprisingly good. The video origins are obvious with some occasional video artifacting and stairstepping visible. The white of her final costume is overlit so that all detail is lost, but this appears to be a problem inherent in the source material and not a transfer issue. Detail on Brightman herself is otherwise quite good, though the orchestra and the chorus come through in quite soft focus. Much of the program is lit in solid blues, reds and violets, and these colors are bright and vivid.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: On a musical performance disc, you would expect particular care to have been taken with regard to the sound. However, this DVD, even with a PCM soundtrack, suffers from annoying levels of hiss and extraneous noise during the quieter sequences. This is the only criticism of the audio that I have, but it's a pretty serious one on a music disc. The vocals and the orchestra are rich and full, with excellent balance. The sound has a nice warmth to it throughout. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again prominently features a tremendously low organ note that will challenge the lower range of most any subwoofer.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 19 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Nothing whatsoever. On the positive side, the songs are all individually chaptered, including the three West Side Story songs that are put into a medley. I shouldn't really have to mention such an obvious point, but altogether too many music discs omit this very basic feature. That's as good as it gets here, though.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

A pleasant evening with Sarah Brightman, half classical and half musical. A decent video transfer is hampered a bit by an hissy audio track, but still worthwhile.


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