Personnel: Sarah Brightman (vocals, keyboards); Adam Klemens, Adrian Partington (conductor); Peter Weihe (guitar, sitar); Jin Burda (mandolin); Lukas Hilbert (sitar); Nigel Kennedy (violin); Amir Abdel Magid (kanoun); Reda Bdir (nay); Michael Soltau (piano, keyboards, programming); Stephan Moccio (piano); Frank Peterson (keyboards, percussion, programming, background vocals); Matthias Meissner (keyboards); Trevor Barry (bass); Frosty Beedle (drums); Kuljid Bhamra (tabla); Rony Barrak (percussion); Christian Draude (programming); The Bach Choir, Jaz Coleman, Violet (background vocals); The Prague Symphony Orchestra, The London Symphony Orchestra.
Listening to HAREM, it's hard to believe that multifarious pop diva Sarah Brightman first came to fame as a proponent of musical theater (not counting her early stint with dance-pop group Hot Gossip). After going through a number of stylistic shifts over the years, she has arrived at an unusual point where her sound evokes a strange confluence of Charlotte Church, Enya, and Madonna. Given the "Arabian Nights" sub-theme of the album, you might even throw in a little "Desert Rose"-era Sting as well.
HAREM veers between ethereal, almost New Age-like moments, operatic flurries, percolating dance beats, and some accessible Eastern-flavored exoticism. Through it all, Brightman's Broadway past occasionally pops up, as on her orchestra-accompanied version of the standard "Stranger in Paradise," which is itself based on a classical theme. In fact, the orchestra pops up throughout the album, playing arrangements by former Killing Joke member Jaz Coleman, who's surely ventured as far afield from his origins by this point as Ms. Brightman.