Ernest Wang sent me a copy of two articles from Singapore's local press
related to the release the CD
Harem (2003).
I have transcribed the two articles below (hoping I made no typing errors).


Skin is in for Brightman

by Tommy Wee
The Straits Times, 17 May 2003
which has one illustration:

Pop lolitas like Christine Aguilera and Tatu can get away with it but when a "serious" older singer like Sarah Brightman shows big hair, cleavage and legs, the critics are not amused.
      Worse, they accuse Brightman of using sex appeal to sell her latest album.
      "I really don't calculate what I do," the 42-year old tells Life! on the phone from Taiwan, "but I do enjoy taking things from different places and fusing them together."
      Certainly, the singer from Berkhampstead, Britain, has detoured quite a bit from what the public knows her by: a star of blockbuster West End musicals like Cats and former wife of award-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
      Harem, the title of her sixth release, is a sensual collection of Middle Eastern odes, accompanied by a peek-a-boo publicity photos which suggest that Brightman has taken a leaf out of Kylie Minogue's playbook.
      "It's always my passion to create something of my own. I've always been a visual person," she says in a crisp British accent, "and I think women my age really start to blossom".
      Ironically, her speaking voice bears the youth and smallness of a 12-year-old's.
      No matter, for her track record is certainly not inconsequential. Before wowing West End, she was a teenage dancer on the BBC's Top Of The Pops show, and was later part of the 1970s girl-group Hot Gossip. They had one strangely titled hit called I fell In Love With A Starship Trooper in 1978.
      After star-making turns as Jemima and Christine in the phenomenally successful musicals Cats and The Phantom Of The Opera respectively during the 1980s, she leapt from the stage to the charts.
      Five albums later, including the lauded Time To Say Goodbye - her duet with Andrea Bocelli - Eden and La Luna, Brightman has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.
      So it is understandable that she feels confident enough to stray into new territory.
      She explains the title of her latest release: "Harem means 'forbidden place' in Arabic. I've been travelling a lot and reading a lot of Arabic literature, which was translated into English. That's influenced me tremendously."
      Brightman, who once famously referred to her voice as The Great Gift, has no intentions of passing on her soprano genes, yet.
      It is no secret that her six-year-old marriage to Lloyd Webber failed in 1990 because he wanted babies while she wanted to tour and record, then tour some more.
      These days, her partner is German produces Frank Peterson, 41, her boyfriend for the past 11 years.
      "Maybe the Gift is enough to keep giving," she says softly after an uncomfortable pause, when the subject of children is brought up.
      "But I have no plans for kids definitely at this stage." Not especially when she embarks on a world tour later this year.
      While she confesses to lapsing into bouts of perfectionism - "I can never be 100 per cent happy with an album" - she assures that she is no difficult diva.
      "Diva, hmm," she wonders aloud. "I don't quite know what it means but I hope it's not negative. I'm very peace-loving. In fact, I'll be the first to run away at the first sign of trouble."
      Flee from trouble? Surely a classical-pop superstar like herself - whose crossover blueprint has spawned the careers of people like Charlotte Church and Filippa Giordano - has always been guided by the best managers?
      "The advice people gave me has always been the wrong advice," she counters. "For a true measure of success, everything has to come from yourself."
      Which is where her new soprano-and-sex appeal comes in nicely then.

photo with article
SIZZLING SARAH: Peek-a-boo look for Birghtman's new album Harem.

My comment:

The article says Harem is Sarah sixth release. The author is quite wrong here! Depending on what you count as album, Harem is the 15-th album full of songs sung by Sarah.
      Other than that, the article is not very inspiring or informative, just nice page-filling material for a newspaper.
      The article's (implied) criticism on Sarah's peculiar chose of clothes is something I share, by the way.


A journey into forbidden places

Brightman's Harem embraces Mid-East exoticism

by Janice Lee
Weekend Today, 10-11 May 2003

This songstress made her start in the theatre as the virginal love interest of the masked terror known as the Phantom of the Opera. But, Sarah Brightman has long since shed her timid image.
      On the cover of her latest album, Harem, her Botticelli-esque locks provide just as little skin cover as her skimpy outfit. Brightman's fashion tastes also run to glitter, sparkles and outrageous headdresses. But, this new image is all a front.
      In a video-conference from Taipei, Brightman told TODAY of her simple life, where coffee is essential to start the day, tofu and vegetables are staples and a run in the park is "glorious". Other than that, her musical projects and what she learns from them are what satisfy her most.
      Having been inspired by musical tales in her childhood, Brightman has always dreamt of delving deeper into Middle Eastern and Asian music.
      She said: "I've always loved the Arabian Nights feeling and much of what we have created is derived from my childhood reading.
      "I was a CS Lewis fan - I like the idea of parallel worlds, faraway lands and mystery."
      As a child, Brightman was also fascinated by pieces of exotic furniture that managed to make their way into the homes of the West. She's also a fan of movies such as Lawrence of Arabia and The Sheltering Sky.
      "I love movies of British and Americans being in these areas, being travellers ... and being interested in the depth of the people," she said.
      Brightman has come a long way since rising to fame in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. After marrying Webber in 1984, she became one of musical theatre's leading ladies before turning her attention to popular music.
      In 1992, her duet with opera star Jose Carreras on the Olympic anthem, Amigos Para Siempre (Friends for Life) was a hit and five years later, she paired up with tenor Andrea Bocelli in Time To Say Goodbye, which topped the charts in Europe.
      "I've usually worked on a lot of older material that's been around, " she said. "There's a lot of new material on Harem and i took a lot of time off from my 'live' work to get involved in the lyric- and song-writing, the production and some of the keyboard-playing."
      So deep was her interest in Middle Eastern culture that she read ancient poems as part of her research. Wading through these works, Brightman said she was inspired to get the "feeling" right for the album, having felt the ancient souls of the people who had written the poems.
      She described Harem as being very much about silence and "inside thoughts".
      Collaborating on Harem with the likes of superstar violinist Nigel Kennedy, singer Kadim Al Sahir - one of the Middle East's most innovative new stars - Natacha Atlas, Ofra Haza and Shweta Shetty was an educational experience for Brightman.
      She said: "They have a completely different scale to our western scale. So, we had to find a way for Kadim to sing on top of my lyrics rather than for him to sing in a western style.
      "I learned a lot from these singers and everybody helped me so that I was able to bring this new knowledge to bear while making the album."

In the middle of the article is an picture: a part of the picture in the above article, showing Sarah's face and whatever it is she's holding in her hand. The caption of it reads:
The eyes have it ... Sarah Brightman's new album casts an alluring spell.
At the head of the article, above the author's name, is a nice drawn picture of the author.

My comment:

This article is somewhat more informative than the above one, and also criticises Sarah's fashion tastes.

With thanks to Ernest Wang.

<=== Harem (2003).

<=== The Sarah Brightman main page  /  CD index  /  lyrics index

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created: 4 May 2003
last modified: 18 April 2013