British singer Sarah Brightman has a five-octave vocal range and millions have paid top dollar to hear her sing. But to hit the highest note of her career, Brightman is spending her own money.
Brightman is paying a reported $52 million to become the first singer to travel in space. She will board a Soyuz spacecraft on Sept. 1 for a 10-day trip aboard the International Space Station. It is the most expensive space tourist trip on record, according to the TASS Russian News Agency.
Photos of Brightman’s training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City near Moscow, can be found on her website and in Wednesday’s Daily Mail, which gave a detailed account of her training.
“When I was 9 years old, I watched the first man on the moon,” Brightman said during a London press conference Wednesday. “It actually changed my perception about life. Suddenly, my mind opened and I started to really work on the career I have now.
“But it was always my ambition to fly to space, it’s something I dream about and wanted. I never really talked about it as it could never be a reality, it was all very abstract.”
Brightman has been a star of stage and screen. She was a favorite actress of Andrew Lloyd Webber, performing in several of his productions, including The Phantom of the Opera. They eventually married and divorced, but they remain collaborators. She said Webber is working with her on a simple song she will sing during the 10-day trip in space.
She has been a featured singer at two Olympic games, had a global smash hit for a duet with Andrea Bocelli and has begun a film career in England.
“To sing in microgravity is a very different thing to singing down here,” Brightman said during her news conference. “We use the earth to ground ourselves when we sing and the air around us.”
She announced her trip in 2012. She has passed all the medical tests and began 16-hour-a-day training sessions in January, including weightlessness training and Russian language lessons.
Brightman even has her own mission patch, her outstretched arms looking similar to Diva Plavalaguna, the strangely beautiful alien opera singer from The Fifth Element. Judge for yourself.