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Shining Star

Jeanne Cooper | March 5, 2019 | Story Galleries and Performance National

For all the years classical-pop phenomenon Sarah Brightman has performed around the globe, her current world tour marks the soprano's first corporate partnership. As the audiences at San Francisco's Masonic Auditorium and San Jose's City National Civic arena will soon discover, crystal-maker Swarovski is shedding light not just on Brightman's runway worthy gowns, but also on VIP concert packages which include crystal-studded laminates and unisex jewelry Brightman helped to design.

Although previous partnerships “might have felt contrived,” Brightman says, the themes of light and uplifting spirituality on her new album, Hymn, drew her to the Austrian jeweler.

“I have been using Swarovski jewels on my headpieces for years and years,” notes the British vocalist, 58. “We got into thinking why I did that, and it’s because a lot of my work is spiritually oriented. The reflected light of crystals gives an extra dimension to the spirit that is in one’s head.”

The cover of Hymn, released in November, also has “this extra dimension of light on it, with my arms raised up and metal in the rays of light coming from the back, symbolic of Masons in the 1920s or ’30s, or churches,” Brightman says. “The crystals are symbolic of light and upward light and outward thinking—not being stuck in things, but always being open.”

Similarly, the album’s tracks are “not about sharing a particular theology, but rather inspiration,” Brightman adds. “It feels like a dystopian world at this moment. We need things to make us feel uplifted and keep us going; I wanted to remind us of childhood days and familiar things. The idea of hymns is to uplift the person to do the right thing and carry forth—all the things we know, but occasionally need to be reminded of.”

The Hymn concerts, which will also feature French tenor Vincent Niclo, Romanian countertenor Narcis Iustin Ianau and (in San Francisco) Japanese pianist Yoshiki, should inspire as well. “They’re full of lots of human beings onstage, with amazing, very heavenly lighting,” Brightman says. Tickets $53-$285, VIP packages $300-$900, March 9, The Masonic, 1111 California St., San Francisco; March 13, City National Civic, 135 W. San Carlos St., San Jose, 800.745.3000

Originally published in the March issue of Silicon Valley

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