Before heading to Atlanta to perform in The Abduction from the Seraglio, soprano Sarah Coburn took some time out of her busy singing schedule to chat with us about her life as a singer and learning the difficult role of Konstanze.
THE ATLANTA OPERA: Did you grow up in a musical family?
SARAH COBURN: Yes, my mother’s side of the family is very musical. My grandmother was a jazz singer and my aunt is a fabulous pianist. My sisters have amazing voices. Every holiday we sang and played. It was mostly barbershop quartets or country music, like the Judds or Vince Gill. Not a bit of opera, though!
AO: Who or what influenced you to become a singer?
SB: I didn’t plan on becoming a singer, although I always planned on majoring in music in college. I studied music education and was encouraged by my voice teachers to think about pursuing performance instead of teaching.
AO: You’ve mentioned in past interviews that Konstanze is one of your favorite roles to sing. What is it about this part that interests you?
SB: I have? I have never sung this role, so that comes as a shock to me! This is my role debut and it is quite daunting. Konstanze is a role that commands great respect and even fear! Ha! Seriously, it is a great challenge, and one I am thrilled to accept. The role requires a great deal of stamina and virtuosity. I have sung Blondchen in the past, and I always hoped I would have the opportunity to sing Konstanze.
AO: Indeed! This is considered by some to be Mozart’s most vocally challenging music for soprano. Where do the challenges lie in this role, and how do you deal with them?
SB: The challenges lie in the lengthy arias, and the fact the two of them are back to back. The arias are exercises in breath control, dynamic control, and support in a difficult tessitura. I love them, though.
AO: What’s your regimen for staying healthy when you’re on the road?
SB: Sleep, water, exercise, and I must warm up properly every day before singing. I am not too stressed about everything being in perfect condition in order to sing well; I can’t be — I have three little kids!
AO: Is this your first time in Atlanta? Do you have any plans to explore the city while you’re here?
SB: I have never spent time in Atlanta. Right now, my goal is to sing the role well and take care of my kids. Exploring the city will come after opening night!