Award-winning baritone Corey McKern was recently named the Artistic Director of Pensacola Opera, and the Director of the Grier Williams School of Music at the University of West Florida.
Last season, Mr. McKern performed the role of Pizarro in Fidelio with Heartbeat Opera, and featured in Bliss with Detroit Opera. In concert, he performed as a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Meridian Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with both Asheville Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphony. This season, McKern will be seen in multiple engagements with Pensacola Opera: “Forty Forward”, La boheme, and Carousel.
Recent engagements include Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Opera Birmingham, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Inland North West Opera, the title role in Don Giovanni, Escamillo in Carmen, and Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore with Pensacola Opera, performances as a soloist in Carmina Burana with Missoula Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the Alabama Symphony, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer for Pensacola Symphony, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Tallahassee Symphony. He also returned to the Florentine Opera for a concert of “Opera’s Greatest Hits,” performed in Nashville Opera’s Opera Jukebox Virtual Concert, in Asheville Symphony’s Virtual Gala, and Mobile Opera’s Winter Gala Concert.
Of his performance in La bohème, 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.” Mr. McKern garners attention at leading opera houses for his charming and dynamic portrayals of his signature roles: Marcello in La bohème in his Asian début at Opera Hong Kong, Santa Fe Opera, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Nashville Opera, and Opera Grand Rapids; Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Nashville Opera and Opera Birmingham; the Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Nashville Opera, Opera Cleveland, Opera Columbus, Michigan Opera Theatre, Tulsa Opera, Opera Birmingham, and Syracuse Opera; Gabriel von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Nashville Opera and Florentine Opera; Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Omaha, Arizona Opera, Opera Birmingham, and Tulsa Opera; as Silvio in Pagliacci with Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Birmingham, and Central City Opera.
Additional favorite engagements include a role début as Dandini in La Cenerentola with Nashville Opera; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Atlanta Opera; Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Saratoga; Olin Blitch in Susannah with Louisiana Opera; Anthony in Sweeney Todd and Danilo in The Merry Widow with Florentine Opera and Pensacola Opera; King Henry II in Becket with Long Island Masterworks; Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with Syracuse Opera and Florida Grand Opera; the Count/Rudolf in Schreker’s Der ferne Klang in his début with Bard SummerScape Opera; Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos and Macheath in The Threepenny Opera at Indianapolis Opera; Valentin in Faust with Opera Carolina; Pish-Tush in The Mikado with Arizona Opera; Don Quichote in Man of La Mancha with Pensacola Opera; and Pilot in Rachel Porter’s operatic adaptation of The Little Prince at Tulsa Opera.
His consistency and professionalism have made him a favorite at several companies including Santa Fe Opera where he performed Masetto in Don Giovanni, Pallante in Agrippina, Peggy Bond Church’s adaptation of the children’s story Shoes for the Santo Niño, the 1st Shepherd in Strauss’ Daphne, Valentin in Faust, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, and as a cover for the title role in Wozzeck; Opera Birmingham as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Escamillo in Carmen, Ping in Turandot, and Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet; and Opera Omaha as John Brooke in Little Women, Ping in Turandot, and Slook in Rossini’s farcical comedy La cambiale di matrimonio.
An active concert performer, Mr. McKern made his début with the St. Louis Symphony performing Wozzeck and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, which he also performed with Seattle Symphony and Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra; made his Carnegie Hall début in the Fauré Requiem; and returned to the prestigious concert hall for John Rutter’s Mass of the Children and Mozart’s Requiem. Other recent concert engagements include Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder with the Missoula Symphony; Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and a concert of operetta highlights with the Indianapolis Symphony; performances with the New Choral Society in Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, Brahms’ Requiem, and Händel’s Messiah, which he also performed with Phoenix Symphony; Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, the San Juan Symphony in Colorado, New Choral Society, the Phoenix Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Asheville Symphony, and in his début with Seattle Symphony; and a concert of arias and duets with San Juan Symphony.
Mr. McKern is a grant recipient from the Sullivan Foundation, as well as the first-place winner of Opera Birmingham, Shreveport Opera, and Mobile Opera competitions. He holds a Master of Music degree from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Mississippi State University. He is also a graduate of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program.