In 2015, Sarah Brightman did something that would forever separate her from other singers. This amazing accomplishment had nothing to do with album sales, moving Sarah Brightman tickets, or winning a competition. Even so, it was definitely out of this world. Brightman became the first professional singer to be blasted into space and sing while orbiting the planet.
Brightman left Earth on Sept. 1 and returned on Sept. 11. She spent her time aboard the International Space Station where she advocated for world peace, sustainable development, and women in science. She also sang a song that was accompanied by a children’s choir and orchestra that were performing live on Earth. The tune was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a studio version is found on a career retrospective Brightman released before journeying into space.
Brightman is one of the most commercially successful sopranos of all-time. She began her career singing disco, then moved to the musical stage. After finding success in the theatre, she went on to practically invent the genre of operatic pop. If you include her work on the original cast recordings of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, then Brightman has sold more than 50 million albums.
In the late 1970s, Brightman joined the dance troupe Hot Gossip. They had a hit record with “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper.” Brightman went solo after that and released a string of moderate disco hits.
In 1981, Brightman landed the role of “Jemima” in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats in the original West End production. Five years later she was cast as “Christine Daae” in Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. She starred in other major stage productions—for example The Pirates of Penzance and Song and Dance—but her work in Cats and Phantom solidified herself as an international singing star.
After retiring from the stage, Brightman sold millions of albums by singing an accessible form of opera. Although Brightman dislikes the term, the genre was called “classical crossover.” Now it’s better known as “pop opera.”
Brightman’s 1996 duet with Andrea Bocelli, “Time to Say Goodbye,” sold more than 12 million copies and is one of the bestselling singles of all-time. She has also performed at two different Olympic Games. She sang “Amigos Para Siempre” with Jose Carreras at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and “You and Me” with Lin Huan at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Brightman was born Aug. 14, 1960 in Hertfordshire, England. She made her theatrical debut in the musical I and Albert when she was 13. Brightman was married to Lloyd Webber from 1983 to 1989. Their marriage was rocky but they are now on friendly terms. In 1992, her father committed suicide amid financial and family troubles. The singer publically admitted that she has experienced a stillbirth, two miscarriages, and an ectopic pregnancy. Brightman has no children.