DIVA TALK: A Chat With Phantom of the Opera and International Concert Star Sarah Brightman

By Andrew Gans
05 Apr 2013

Sarah Brightman

Question: You mentioned your training has begun. What does that entail?
Brightman: Well, first of all, I had to go through a lot of medicals, and to tell you the truth, I was wary about going into it because, of course, they're very deep medicals, and you find out everything about your body because it has to be understood and known to see if you're fit for space travel, especially this type. And, just the thought that there might be something that I didn't want to know about for the future made me quite wary, but I decided to start. And, I sort of got through with—excuse the pun, flying colors—and I thought God, that's really lucky that I'm healthy. This started with medicals in Houston… I did some medicals in London, and the next set of medicals, which were really tough, were in Russia, and not only did I go through that part of it, but also through some of the physical training and things one might experience or would experience in space—centrifuge and high altitude chambers, rotating chairs—all the sorts of things that astronauts and cosmonauts are trained to do and go through. Also, a lot of psychological testing, and I was monitored through the night all the time. And, I got through everything, and I was told that I had done better in these tests than any spaceflight participant had so far, so I was very relieved about that. That's been the first part of it. And, the next part is sort of before you go outwards… I think it's about six-eight months of pure training up in Star City in Russia. That's basically all I can tell you so far! [Laughs.]

Question: It's going to be a ten-day travel, right?
Brightman: Eight-ten, yes.

Question: And, you're planning to sing in space…
Brightman: Well, everybody goes up and does something in the private sector that they feel that they can do, and obviously I'm a musician and feel that one of my experiments—because I think there are many that you can do and that you're helped with the ideas of what you could do—yes, would be to see how I would sing in zero gravity. I've been told by another cosmonaut that it is entirely possible. There is, however—if you want to connect with earth, there's about a two-second delay, so that would have to be worked out if I wanted to connect with musicians or connect with concerts that are down on earth—as I'm flying over all this—depending on trajectory.



Question: Do you have an idea what song you might want to sing first in space?
Brightman: I don't at the moment. I've got a lot of things, which sort of come before deciding something like that, but it will be very beautiful to try and find the right piece to actually do from there and connect with the earth, but I've got some time.

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Question: You also have a new CD coming out this month.
Brightman: Yes, I do. It's called "Dreamchaser," and it's beautiful. It's been inspired by sort of my love for space and the universe and our planet. I'm an interpreter of music. Most of the songs are covers of pieces, but they're pieces which are very expansive and very beautiful. They go from old to sort of totally contemporary pieces, and we had to create a beautiful scape—music scape, if you like—to try and give people the feeling of space and the universe and something more expansive and deeper meanings. From what people have told me from listening to the album, everyone's going, "Wow, this is probably one of your best pieces of work to date." Obviously, it depends on people's taste; we're all different. But I have to say, it's something that I got very deeply into and was very involved with, and I've been working with a wonderful producer called Mike Hedges, who is known for doing many things. To name a couple, he's worked a lot with U2 as a producer and engineer and also The Cure as well as doing a lot of classical music—he's a very spiritual man, and he felt the right person to do a project like this. So, that's what it is. It's called "Dreamchaser" because I've always been a person who has chased my dreams. Some I've achieved, some I haven't. But a journey onto a dream is the most beautiful thing and lands you in directions and areas that you couldn't even imagine, so that's why I called it "Dreamchaser." And, coincidentally, there is a new spaceship being built—one of the three that will hopefully be carrying astronauts to the space station in the future—and that's actually called Dreamchaser as well, so that's nice. [Laughs.] So, yes, it's been an absolutely gorgeous project to work on, and if you think about the universe, it gives one artistically so much scope to work with and brings so many textures and ideas and thoughts. It's been great for a soprano, I have to say.

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