Sarah Brightman: Hero or Villain?


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The Independent Online

Space: the final frontier. For marketing, that is. Because, in what has to be the most audacious attempt to build a buzz of all time, Sarah Brightman – yes, that Sarah Brightman, of Phantom and Lloyd-Webber fame – has booked a flight on a round-trip on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station.

And the hype campaign has already begun. For her new album, that is. "I think of myself not just as a dreamer, but as a dream chaser," she said on revealing that she'd splashed out on a ticket to the outer limits. Which sounds delightfully poetic until you realise her forthcoming album is named Dreamchaser, and that she will be blasting off only after touring the world to promote the disc next year.

Really, how cynical can you get? Too cynical. And that's our cynicism we're talking about here. Because there are some very good reasons why the soprano is set to head for the heavens.

Reason the first: as a bright-eyed ambassador for Unesco, Brightman believes the trip will help push its encouragement of women's education in the sciences. Yes, she said she might perform a promotional "space concert", too, but there's nothing against that in the UN agency's charter. Probably. We haven't read it. Bet she hasn't either.

Anyway, moving on, reason the second: she hopes it will help further our awareness of the environment. And there can surely be no better way of doing that than strapping yourself into a tin can that will presumably be powered by eco-friendly energy sources. Solar power, maybe.

Reason the third: it's going to cost $30m – and she should be an inspiration to all that someone generally considered wildly average in their chosen profession can save that much money.

And reason the fourth – and the most important reason of all: it's been almost 35 years now and it's about time she tracked down that blasted starship trooper who stole her heart. And you can't argue with that sort of logic.