Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Barbra talks to USA Today

Streisand jumps across the pond
By Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY
Barbra Streisand isn't crazy about flying.

"My sign is Taurus," she says. "It's an earth sign. We like to keep our feet on the ground."

Nonetheless, the diva will soon hop on a plane bound for Europe, where this summer she'll launch her first string of performances on the continent. The tour won't be as extensive as her U.S. trek last year: "That was 20 dates; this will be about half of that." The first five dates were announced Monday, including a stop in London, where Streisand last performed in 1994.

"I like challenges, and it's time to do things that I haven't done before," Streisand says of her decision to take her act abroad. Another factor was the swell time she had on her U.S. trek last year, documented on the two-CD set Live In Concert 2006, due May 8. The tracks include songs not previously featured on any Streisand album, plus duets with Il Divo, who accompanied her on tour.

"This time, I really enjoyed touring the United States, because I didn't have stage fright," Streisand says. "Would I rather have been in bed eating a pint of coffee ice cream? Yeah. But I can't raise money for my foundation that way." (As with Streisand's U.S. tour, for which tickets ranged from $100 to $750, European proceeds support the Streisand Foundation.)

While touring, it's likely Streisand will stay mindful of the presidential campaign heating up back home. The outspoken Democrat and longtime supporter of the Clintons says she's "very impressed" with Barack Obama: "He's wonderful." But "I'm not choosing anybody right now." She has contributed to both candidates, as well as John Edwards and Christopher Dodd. "I like Joe Biden and Bill Richardson, too. And Dennis Kucinich," Streisand says.

"We have a lot of good candidates, and any one of them would be better than anyone in the administration right now. It's a matter of who I think has a chance to win."

Fans wondering whether Streisand will engage in similar commentary in her European shows — her American concerts had their share of political humor — should secure their tickets, because the singer has no plans to record this mini-tour.

"It's like when I did Funny Girl," Streisand quips, harking back to her Broadway roots. "Whoever gets to see it gets to see it."