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.