Meet the Artist: Papageno, Corey McKern

Feb 13, 2013

Papageno, as described by the host in a recent Omaha radio station interview, serves as the “comic relief” in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The role was originally sung by the opera’s librettist, Emanuel Schikaneder, and may be one of the most widely-recognized roles in opera. Papageno is described by harmonia mundi in the following manner:

Papageno : the birdcatcher, a clumsy, comical character…The attribute of this ‘know-all’ who really knows nothing is a set of panpipes that can charm birds (he will also make incidental use of a set of magic bells). In a sense he lies at the centre of the opera: his failed, even parodic initiation sets in perspective the gravity of the itinerary followed by the Tamino/Pamina couple and the solemnity of a discourse which thus always remains human and accessible. He emerges as an amiable coward with a tendency to put his foot in it, deeply in love with life and with his Papagena, and his feathered person and catchy tunes add a touch of bright colour to the austere interplay of shadows and light which structures the drama (

We are pleased and honored to welcome baritone, Corey McKern back to Opera Omaha for this role. You may have seen him previously as Slook in our February 2012 production of The Marriage Contract. Mr. McKern sings the role of Papageno in Opera Omaha’s production of The Magic Flute with great skill and just the right amount of sulky humor. He possesses both the operatic and theatrical chops to accurately portray both the longing and the mirth in the role.

Thanks to Corey McKern and our music staff, you will see and hear a wonderful portrayal of Papageno when you join us on Friday, February 22 or Sunday, February 24 to see The Magic Flute. Tickets can be purchased online through Ticket Omaha or by phone at 402-345-0606. Don’t miss this your chance to see this enchanting production of a classic opera including marvelous singing.

Corey McKern–Biography provided by the artist.


Award-winning baritone Corey McKern continuously earns critical acclaim and accolades in every appearance he makes. In his 10 performance run as Marcello in La bohème at the Santa Fe Opera last summer, the Santa Fe New Mexican said, “Corey McKern’s resolute, robust-voiced and rambunctious Marcello, a perfect picture of a wannabe Parisian painter, was one of the best I’ve ever heard.” This season, engagements include his debut with Austin Lyric Opera as Silvio in I Pagliacci, his role debut as Dandini in La Cenerentola with Nashville Opera, the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro with Syracuse Opera, Anthony in Sweeney Todd with Pensacola Opera, King Henry II in Becket with Long Island Masterworks, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Birmingham, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Saratoga, and his debut with the St. Louis Symphony performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Wozzeck.

To learn more about Mr. McKern, please visit his official website.

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