NEA close to home

Posted on: February 11, 2009

“Come November,” writes Mike Boehm on Tuesday’s (2/10) Los Angeles Times blog Culture Monster, “Sarah Coburn, a rising soprano, is scheduled to sing her first L.A. Opera role in Handel’s ‘Tamerlano,’ playing opposite Placido Domingo as the beleaguered daughter of a conquered Turkish potentate. Culture Monster wonders whether any semblance of that tale’s turbulence is stirring within Coburn’s own family these days considering that her dad, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), has led the charge to keep federal economic stimulus money from landing in the pockets of artists such as, well, his daughter. On Friday, the Senate voted 73-24 in favor of Coburn’s amendment ‘to ensure that taxpayer money is not lost on wasteful and non-stimulative projects, such as funding museums, theaters and arts centers.’ … If arts partisans are tempted to cast Coburn père as a stereotypical Okie-from-Muskogee (indeed, that is his hometown) who hammers the arts out of ignorance, there’s a bit of a complication: ‘The senator comes to the opera a lot,’ reports Mark Weinstein, executive director of Washington National Opera.’ ” The article goes on to highlight some of the positive reviews the younger Coburn has received from respected critic.