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Sen. Coburn's Famous Opera Soprano Daughter: More Mom Than Dad

It's a good thing Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-Okla.) staunch opposition to federal funding for the arts hasn't meant the death knell for the Kennedy Center in Washington. Or else he may not have had the pleasure of seeing his daughter, Sarah Coburn, star opposite Placido Domingo this month.

Coburn, the Senate's most famous crusader against "earmarks," has caught two of his daughter's performances in Tamerlano at the Kennedy's Center's Washington National Opera house, which ends tonight. Sarah, his youngest of three daughters, is one of his best-kept secrets. Who knew?

Sarah Coburn
Sarah Coburn (Photo courtesy of Sarah's Web site).

She has quickly risen to national prominence in the opera world. (Peter Gelb, the general manager of the New York Metropolitan Opera, made a special trip to Washington to see her perform on Sunday, May 4. He was spotted sitting with Domingo's wife, Marta, in the box next to the president's box.)

Coburn -- the daughter, that is -- is described by the Financial Times in its review of Tamerlano as a "luminous soprano" who is "superbly expressive," and by Opera News as "blissfully sublime." Though Sen. Coburn has certainly been described as expressive, it isn't usually in the luminous or sublime sense. All of those attributes, and her good looks, Coburn concedes, come from Sarah's mother, a former Miss Oklahoma.

The Coburn Family
The Coburn family at the Tulsa Opera 60th Anniversary Gala (Photo courtesy of Sarah's Web site).

Coburn supports elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. We wonder what his daughter thinks of that, especially considering the N.E.A.'s newly created Opera Honors award. (This year's first ever recipients got $25,000 each, not shabby.)

Although he opposes federal funding for the arts, Coburn says he contributes a "great deal privately." His daughter makes him CDs of operas, which Coburn says he listens to in the mornings "when nobody's around."

"I've fallen in love with opera," the often irascible, hard-line conservative says. Does he cry at the opera? "I have before," he admits. "I also laugh a lot -- all the plots are the same, either it's a jealous husband or an upset father."

Coburn is not playing the role of upset father in his daughter's own personal love story. She met a nice Northern boy online and is set to marry him in New York on Sept. 1. "We're gonna have the first Yankee in our family," Coburn says of his future son-in-law.

Of his baby, who he'll be giving away at the wedding, the senator told us, "Her best attribute is her kind and soft heart." Asked whether Sarah is conservative like her father, he confidently replied, "Oh yeah."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  May 21, 2008; 2:49 PM ET
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Why should the American taxpayer be driven further into debt so the wealthiest 0.1% can go to the opera?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Michael | May 21, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

How much of this was plagiarized from the actual Post article?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 22, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Plagiarized? Not at all. Read the Post. Mary Ann Akers wrote (with another writer) the original story on a number of subjects, for the Washington Post, and then included this part of it in her blog at the Washington Post.

Posted by: Rob | May 23, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Self-plagiarism exists, there's no link

typical incompetent media

Posted by: Bob | May 23, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't have such high expectations, the decline of American journalism started a long time ago.

Posted by: Izzy | May 23, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

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