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Sarah Coburn

See my first review at, published today:

Soprano Sarah Coburn Stops by the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washingtonian, May 20):

Sarah Coburn says she likes coming to Washington to sing, and not only because of the chance to visit her father, Senator Tom Coburn. The Oklahoma-trained soprano has performed here several times: with the Washington National Opera (in Tamerlano), with the Washington Concert Opera (in Tancredi and I Puritani), and in recital for Vocal Arts DC. She was back to perform in the Shenson Chamber Music Concert series at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Wednesday night. Coburn and her accompanist, pianist Anne Breeden, presented a one-hour recital that displayed the singer’s training in Italian, German, Russian, French, and Spanish diction.

For whatever reason, Coburn’s voice sounded more relaxed in her German and Spanish sets. She chose three of the most familiar Richard Strauss songs, beginning with a startlingly slow rendition of “Morgen,” in which the misty, soft-pedaled piano drew out a less nervous vibrato spinning in Coburn’s voice. Whenever Breeden pushed the envelope with more sound, as in “Cäcilie,” Coburn tended to constrict sonically, a nervous energy that made for some thrilling high notes. Two Rachmaninoff songs made for an exultant conclusion to the first half, the torrential swells of “Spring Waters” helping sweep Coburn up to a ringing top. She seemed most at ease in a pleasing set of pieces by Joaquín Turina and Fernando Obradors. Something about these works made her voice open up, allowing the cantillations on an “ah” vowel to roll out effortlessly, a feeling of ease that Coburn confirmed when she kindly answered a few questions after this recital. [Continue reading]
Sarah Coburn (soprano) and Anne Breeden (piano)
Shenson Chamber Music Concerts
National Museum of Women in the Arts

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