In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

An Interview with One of BLO’s Favorite Opera Mommies, Sarah Coburn

May 8, 2014 4:32:00 PM
By BLO Staff

Sarah Coburn with Katie Rose (left) and Ruby (right)

Sarah Coburn stars as Elvira in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Bellini’s I Puritani, through May 11. Sarah is also a wife and a mother of two. In between rehearsing, performing, and traveling, Sarah makes time to watch and sing along with Disney’s Frozen alongside her two daughters, Katie Rose (4) and Ruby (almost 2), and sometimes interviews with the Boston Globe while they giggle and play nearby.

BLO: How do you balance your thriving career and continued artistic pursuit with being a young mom?
SC: Young mom? Thanks! I am still overwhelmed by the challenges that come with trying to be a wife, mom, homemaker, opera singer, expert traveler and employer. It is tricky to keep it all balanced. Actually, it is impossible. I think our generation of working moms is going crazy trying to be and have it all. We technically can have it all, but I think we risk sacrificing our joy in the process.

BLO: Your most memorable moment of the two worlds colliding (mommy and artist)?
SC: My big “having it all” moment- literally running back and forth between rehearsals and my apartment in Los Angeles, while I was rehearsing for TWO operas and nursing a 10-week-old. I remember thinking, “Am I crazy?” while jogging home on the overpass.

Los Angeles Opera's Tamerlano

BLO: What was it like to perform while pregnant?
SC: Singing while pregnant was great for me…in the later months. The pressure of the baby gave me a nice cushion of support for singing. There were some drawbacks as well- breathlessness and constant visits to the restroom. When I was six months pregnant with Katie Rose, I was singing Gilda and Portland Opera didn’t have a restroom stage left. So, they rented a port-a-potty for me and set it up stage left. How is that for the diva treatment?

Florida Grand Opera's The Barber of Seville

BLO: Have Ruby and Katie Rose seen you perform on stage?
SC: My oldest, Katie Rose, has seen a few performances, and loves to come backstage. She is still a bit young to understand that when Mom is feeling sad or upset on stage, that I am really going to be ok. She doesn’t like it when other characters are mean to her mom! Last week, my husband brought her into the wings for the very end of the performance. When I saw her little face during the bows, I melted. At that point, I am usually recounting to myself all of the things that went badly during the performance and how I don’t really deserve an ovation. When I saw her, all I felt was joy and gratitude.

BLO: Do you think they might follow in your footsteps with a career in opera?
SC: I don’t know. We shall see. I don’t care what they end up doing; I just want them to have joy and to know how much they are loved.

Boston Lyric Opera's The Barber of Seville
Boston Opera Calendar

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