Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sarah Brightman - Symphony

I wish that I had been in another room to only hear the concert last night on my local PBS station, but I was watching--and I couldn't believe my eyes. Sarah Brightman's voice, the highest selling soprano of all time, was filling Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral), Vienna--with ethereal sound, usually drawing pictures in my mind of an angel singing--but I was appalled at what I was seeing. As I watched the remainder of the concert, I realized that in the back of my mind was a picture from my childhood, an Adventist painting of the whore of Babylon, scantily clad in purple with flowing black locks, but the whore was more tastefully clad than was Brightman--who appeared in diaphanous, nude-colored chiffon topped by a corset in white satin with what appeared to be garters holding up outer layers above her knees.
As she walked up and down the cathedral's aisle, her clothing suggested nakedness. Sitting along the aisles were many people of all ages, men and women, among whom I saw two women with hats of sorts. No one--in the audience and, especially Miss Brightman--appeared to be dressed appropriately for appearing in a cathedral, normally a place of worship, normally a place of decorum and respect, not only for oneself, but for the "sacred" place.

As a teenager I sang in the Motet Choir in St. Michael's Episcopal Cathdral, in Boise, Idaho; I've sung an aria from Handel's Messiah in Jewett Auditorium, College of Idaho--I know what singing sounds like echoing among the vaults of cathdrals, sounds heightened by wonderful acoustics--I can understand the appeal of singing into the vaults of Stephansdom. But I cannot understand the complete lack of propriety in Miss Brightman's appearance. The voice of an angel should not proceed from the lips of a woman dressed like a whore in a sacred space.


Anonymous said...

It never ceases to confound me how self-appointed religious zealots still persist from the dark century of the Spanish Inquisition. They set upon themselves to cast anyone into darkness when such judgments are better left to God. Religion today lacks compassion and understanding of human beings. They would rather pass judgment than to grant grace. I've been watching Sarah's career closely for eight years now and I've seen nothing in all that time that justifies your comments. It's your opinion, of course, but you just have not seen the entire woman that we see so differently.

Personally, I have found no singer in music today who is more angelic than Sarah Brightman. She is one of the most positive role models in the world of music today and she has influenced many popular and classical vocalists and musicians. Her music has also inspired writers, poets, and other celebrities, and millions of people around the world who have found her music uplifting and inspirational. She has served as a very positive role model in my life as she has deepened my appreciation of classical music and raised my expectations for popular music. I'd expect that when the day comes and I cross over to Heaven, if I hear an angel singing, her voice will sound much like Sarah's.

There is a reason for dressing differently than anyone else. It's called show business. This is not clothing worn on the street, but a wardrobe designed to create an illusion of mystery, perfection, and a dreamlike world. Perhaps you would have her wear an Amish dress or a burka? Yes, I could enjoy Sarah's voice if she wore a pair of blue jeans, an ordinary sweater, and sat on a crate on a bare stage. However, I happen to like Sarah's amazing wardrobe and her theatrical settings. I would compare Sarah and Sarah's wardrobe with some of the most beautiful art of our greatest artists. Sarah enjoys the beauty that God granted her and Within the context of taking the listener into a world of beautiful music, her costumes are breathtaking, beautiful, feminine, but never in bad taste. Sarah does not indulge in the antics and bad behavior of other celebrities; she keeps her personal, private life to herself; and she is gracious, courteous, and sweet to anyone she meets--even when others are being rude or inconsiderate to her. Her legion of fans around the world could not disagree with you more.


Sinéad said...

Hello & welcome to the 21st century!
Firstly, Sarah did sound like an Angel in Vienna, I haven't seen the show on TV, I know because I was there, which brings me to my second point. Not one of Sarah's outfits 'suggested nakedness' Sarah is a performer, she gave an AMAZING concert & the FABULOUS dresses she wore only added to the gothic feel of the incredible show.

& as for the audience not appearing to be dressed Everyone made a special effort because they knew it was going to be a DVD so I really don't see what the problem is.

...if that's what a whore looks like, I know what I want to be if I ever grow up!!

Mr Bear said...

Jesus on a stick! ;-p This lady needs to loosen up and live life a little more lighthearted. Love the bonnet btw-oh so sexy!

Anonymous said...

Since you are using Christianity for you basis of thought here, I will to. First of all The Church is not a building, but rather the body of Christ or believers.

I will agree with you that I don't approve of everything Sarah has done but I don't hold her to a Christian standard as she has never claimed to be one. I am a Christian.

In the geaneology of Christ, there was a whore, Rahab, an adultress,Bathsheba and a gentile Ruth. That is not to shame Christ but show His great grace and mercy as these all became believers.

Sarah's music is a joy to me and has helped me through some tough times. She was there when no one else wanted to be bothered.Not even my brothers in Christ.

Being legalistic is not spiritual, rather yielding to the gracious Spirit of Christ is life.

Carolyn said...

1975 – in a speech to the AFL-CIO, Solzhenitsyn says – “- there is occurring a liberation of the human spirit. New generations are growing up which are steadfast in their struggle with evil; which are not willing to accept unprincipled compromises; which prefer to lose everything - salary, conditions of existence and life itself - but are not willing to sacrifice conscience; not willing to make deals with evil.”

1978 – in a speech at Harvard, Solzhenitsyn says – “Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.”

Author Stephen Baron says “Alexander Solzhenitsyn has sharply criticized the West for its excessive materialism. He warns that people wholly captivated by material well-being will lack the requisite spirit to defend their freedom, and he identifies religion as the last available spark capable of igniting a spiritual blaze with which to save humanity. While Alexis de Tocqueville agrees that excessive materialism poses a threat to freedom, he argues that its danger can be addressed as a political and not a metaphysical problem. Because Tocqueville identifies modernity with liberal democracy, he looks upon religion as a political institution which can counterbalance the defects of democracy.” Morality & Politics in Modern Life: Tocqueville & Solzhenitsyn on the Importance of Religion to Liberty.

2008 - Victoria's Secret has become "too sexy" for its own good, its top executive said (

and - Moslem terrorists state their willingness to die attacking America because they consider us the Great Satan for our blatant misuse of sex, among other perceived wrongs.

With headlines like this, surely impropriety and lack of decorum for the sake of theatre is not a topic that should escape comment. Since when does theatrical imply the need for inciting lust or titillation? If one’s voice has been likened to an angel, which, by the way, is sexless (Matt 22:30), need one use sex to sell one’s voice, especially in a “sacred” space?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to make this short, and to the point.

Shut up...


Anonymous said...

oh whatever. if anything there should have been more nakedness. get some dancing naked ladies and men. and have them be performing gay marriages and abortions. now THAT would be a good time!

Anonymous said... readily you quote scripture, but simply to support your personal opinion. Quite typical I must say of many in this day & age who call themselves "religious." I seem to recall something about "judge not lest ye be judged."

I find your comments referring to Ms. Brightman as a "whore" to be extremely offensive as well as needlessly judgemental. While it may be your opinion, to put it forth in a public forum using such a vile descriptor reminds me of behaviour related in the Bible that the Lord in his infinite wisdom condemned.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so it is said. It would follow then, that one can same the same of ugliness. Ms. Brightman's wardrobe for that evening's performance was stunning and perfect for the performance, and the suggestion of nakedness and lustfulness came from your eye, and your eye only. If this beautiful cathedral is "sacred," it is so because of the presence of God. Well, I believe that God was there that night, and He was pleased.

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier as a Christian. I came back in to tell you I am sorry for the blasphemy against God that has been put in here.

The fear of God IS the beginning of wisdom.

Richard said...

it never ceases to amaze me how a archaic symbol of darkness and religious intolerance can be compared to sarah brightman a woman who's voice can lift the souls of people regardless of their beliefs. it is a sad day.

Carolyn said...

Hitting the news this week: a sex scandal that forced the resignation under threat of impeachment of the governor of New York State and a CDC report that 25% of American teenage girls carry STDs.

The Apostle Paul tells us that we will judge angels (1 Cor 6:3) and the Prophet Ezekiel was told to mark those that “sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done (Ezek 9:4). Speaking out against perceived evil (dressing inappropriately for a sacred space and not covering one’s hair as Christian women ought to do, especially in a sacred space) is appropriate. If you disagree, your comments demonstrate how far common culture misses the mark of decorum and respect. Anything goes anywhere anytime does not seem to bring stellar, angelic results (Rev 1:20).

Richard said...

i neither agree or disagree. i only quote this: judge not or you will be judged. for the same measure you use. will be used against you.

Anonymous said...


I truly apologize for the onslaught of Sarah Brightman fandrones. The link was posted on her forums.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn, I agree with you. Brightman looked like a whore. A church is no place for clothing like that.

Rabid Brightman fans aside, it was in bad taste, and she should be ashamed of herself.

Richard said...

to each his or her own. beware of judging others. or you will be judged.

Anonymous said...

Just because that dress looks the color of old underwear does not mean she is indeed wearing any.

Anonymous said...

Ah, more self proclaimed "Christians" who think they know what's best for everyone. It's too bad none of you have the love in your heart that Sarah does. You are judged by your deeds in life, not how many times you go to church and then walk out calling someone a whore. Sarah is beautiful inside and out...something you "Christians" know nothing about. If I were you I'd be ashamed and asked for forgiveness for the way you act and talk. You evidently need to go back to church and learn how to have love in your heart and act like Christ.

Anonymous said...

After reading all this I have to say; why do human beings put human emotions on a Deity? Why do people quote the bible like it is the only source for the words of God? God didn't write the bible...let's come into the 21st century please...God would have a lot more tolerance then what is shown in the bible.
A church is wood and stone, God is everywhere and you really think She cares what Sarah Brightman wore at a concert in a cathedral? Yes, I said "She".

Remember opinions are like "you know whats"...everyone has one!

Anonymous said...

Have you not seen her "Ave Maria" video?

Kelly Joyce Neff said...

That is wrong with you people? Carolyn is openly a confessed Christian who covers (her head that is, for those of you who don't know what that terminology means.)
Ergo, she is telling you what her beliefs are. Why are you expecting her to comment by YOUR values, or those of society at large?
If you don't like her perspective, don't read her blog.

Carolyn, When I saw this picture of Sarah Brighman, I was shocked.' Why is that girl wearing a corset like some Castro street S&M bimbo?'
I don't care if she has the voice of the Archangel Gabriel, her attire was inappropriate for a holy space.

If you look at Burne-Jones' angels, they are beautiful without being kinky.

Stand your ground, sister.

Anonymous said...

he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Richard said...

everyone is entitled to their opinions. this woman carolyn is in entiled to hers. as well as those of sarah brightman's fans whom posted here. let us however leave it in the hands of God to decide the fate of sarah brightman. after all God knows what was in her heart. if she her motives were good. she will be blessed. if not she will be cursed.

Anonymous said...

I've been a born again Christian for 25 years. In the past three years I've studied Freemasonry, the Mystery Religions, the New Age movement, and the occult. As Christians we need to be DISCERNING!!! Satan has a grip on this world like you wouln't believe. Is Sarah a Christian and if not what does she believe? A person has two choices Jesus or Satan. I would have to research Sarah further to make up my mind about her.

The Red Mongoose

Anonymous said...

you certainly leave a lot of good people in other faiths like jews and muslims. but since this is really a fundamentalist thread. i leave these these two thoughts that jesus had your enemies; bless them who curse you. love those who spitefully hate you. and there is more than just the words written scriptures. much much more. especially the old testament. anyway anyone who can sing ave maria, pie jesu; must have a little divine spark within her. in truth we all do. and no matter what church out there says that certain people are going to hell. its those who are the ones who make accusations are the ones who will be under judgement themselves. so instead of puttung someone on tial because they don't believe in the same things as you do. or don't believe at all. try to see how jesus would act. and read the new testament in how he dealt with others. did he judge ? no. he embrace people with love.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I arrived here from a google search on Sarah Brightman + voice + thin (or something similar). Her voice is"ok" but not up to operatic standards like Jessye Norman. As for the Whore Of Babylon comparison, well, I didn't see the concert, and probably would have switched channels since I find her too lightweight and cheesy for my taste.
Re Kelly's comment "like some Castro Street S&M Bimbo", for those not from San Francisco: Castro Street is the main gay district, probably the gay center of the world. But it's pretty much a male enclave, so the only people remotely like "bimbos" (although they're not, since bimbos don't do much community service, unlike them) would likely be The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence, a well-known group of gay men with nun personas, and other drag queens.

Sarah said...

Clearly the thousands of people who attended the concert thought it was a lovely spectacle and actually understood the meaning behind Brightman's costumes and the general aura of the entire concert.

Get a grip.

Anonymous said...

You're entitled to your opinion, but I don't agree. I doubt that with all the horrible evils in the world, God is upset about what Sarah Brightman wore in a Cathedral. He has much bigger fish to fry.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Brightman danced for Pan, the god of the witches, and sang for the Phantom. She stood as an evil flower in the Vienna Cathedral.

Anonymous said...

ahhhh! the inquistion hasn't pass with the time! splendid! time to get some wood. and burn those witches and wizards. as well as heretics and jews. as well as mystics like myself. and start singing ding dong the witch is dead. thank god jrr tolkienn, george mac donald, and c.s. lewis never had that view point and who are they? why they were fantasy and science fiction writers.they belong to the church of england. that champion against the catholic church of old in which some protestant churches have become an image of. like the image of the beast.

Lily said...

I would agree IF and only IF this was intended to be a religious event. Someone wearing a corset to mass wouldn't be a whore, but misdressed for sure.

Sarah is an opera star, a dancer, and perhaps above all: AN ENTERTAINER. The setting, the gorgeous cathedral, and her utterly beautiful gowns makes for some great entertainment, as it was intended to be.

Had the pope been there I might think differently. As it was, this was not a religious event but a show, and she was beautiful as always! :)

Carolyn said...

Dear Lily,

Modern women use their sexuality as a source of state-supported power … state-supported because the enfranchisement of women under the guise of equal civil rights permits even Christian woman to appear in public scantily clad and garmented in sexually explicit attire. It is their civil right to go forth looking as if they just got out of bed, but this is not a right received from God, who would have—if Paul’s pastoral epistles are genuine—Christian women adorned in good works and not in revealing clothing.

The modern Christian woman’s uncovered hair stands as the defining symbol of what’s wrong with endtime Christendom.

richt63 said...

been following this blog for a while. had forgotten about it. until i saw these latest posts.
i agree with Lily's posts. if this was a religious event. then it would be highly inappropiate. however one shouldn't just blame Sarah Brightman on all of it. since the church itself was well aware of ms. brightman's background. and her music. so they allowed her to perform. here again the almighty dollar comes into play.
to ms carolyn
i understand you position. and respect your beliefs. but please understand not everyone shares your view or convictions.
although i'm not a christian. i was raised in a catholic/protestant home. my father traveled to other countries. and met other peoples of other religions. he did this as a military man. he always saw there was good in people. and always quoted what is written in the book of Micah chapter 4 verse 5 let everyone walk according to his god; we will walk in the name of the lord our god forever...

Carolyn said...

Dear Rich63,

The context of the verse you quote from Micah is a Millenial passage:

«For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever. In that day, declares the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore. (Micah 4:1–7 emphasis and double emphasis added)»

What happens to those peoples who walk in the name of a god other than the God of Jacob, the God of the Living (from Matt 22:32)? What happens to the hills that represent ruling hierarchies other than that of the God of the living?

There is a reality that must be addressed when it comes to the Millennium, the Thousand Years long reign of Christ Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords between when the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18) and when the Adversary is loosed from his chains and again permitted to go forth to deceive the people of this world … the Adversary would be able to deceive no one when loosed from his chains if all peoples were of the mountain of the house of the Lord. The fact that the Adversary can deceive anyone should cause us to ask why.

«And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods. (Ex 34:8–35)»

You are right when you draw attention to the fact that the church «sold» its «sacred» space. The Catholic church claims to stand for God, Christ. Why didn't they demand that Ms. Brightman dress appropriately for their sacred space? If a Christian woman is to dress with modesty (1 Tim 2:9), not appearing in her underwear in public--even to covering her hair (1 Cor 11:6), some of Ms. Brightman's clothing was not appropriate.

I believe she, indeed, has the voice of an angel. Why not dress as we think an angel dresses when in this sacred space?

For a further look: