Eden (a k a Wolf Trap) was a pretty soggy mess Thursday night. Sarah Brightman, and her troupe of dancers and musicians whose "One Night in Eden" show filled the Wolf Trap grounds, couldn't do much about the weather, but the hundreds of people who happily picnicked under umbrellas on the lawn or packed the seats under the roof didn't seem to care at all. They had come to see their "Angel of Music," and they loved everything she offered them.
And what a show she put on! It was an evening of old favorites, 15 years of songs that have worked their way into the hearts of her fans. But the songs were just where this production began. Brightman rarely sang from stage level. She appeared on opulent couches, on towering staircases, on spidery platforms and on the outstretched fingers of dancers, always in perfect vocal control and always in character. Her costumes morphed from the seductive to the coy, and the set, a marvel of electronic and technical sophistication, evolved from an eerie mystical Eden of flashing light and smoke to a sea of swimming dancers to the elegance of an opera house.
The one distraction in all of this extravagantly but carefully contrived presentation was the amplification, which sounded terrific back by the entrance gates but bludgeoned the audience under the roof with distortions of what was frequently subtle and artistic music-making.