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?
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.
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."
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