Papageno vs. Tamino

Ever since I heard Pa-pa-pa-Papagena I have been a Papageno fan. Once I saw the whole opera I was made more sure of the fact. His storyline is by far my favorite part of the whole opera. When he finally meets up with Papagena at the end I always feel like that was probably the number one sweetest opera moment. He seems to have more depth than Tamino and, lets face it, he has more catchy tunes* and funnier parts. On top of that every time I see the part where he is going to hang himself I always think that he just needs a big hug. ^_^

From what I see online it seems like Papageno is a far more popular character than Tamino. Of course I have only ever met one other opera lover in real life so I have no idea which of the two characters is more popular. Just for giggles I figured this would be a good place to ask who is your favorite?

*Okay I like baritones better than tenors so I'm biased.


I sure agree.

From the first time I saw "Die Zauberflöte" I didn't like Tamino very much. To me Papageno is the real star of the play. He rescues Pamina the first time and his funny and witty dialogues made me laugh the whole time. Also, as you said, his tunes are more "catchy"... who can resist to that beautiful "Pa-pa pa-pa-pa"?

Definitely Tamino gets very shadowed by him... I wonder if Emmanuel Schikaneder starring in the original performances as Papageno (and maybe writing the role for himself) had anything to do with that?

Have you seen the 2006 production of the Salzberger Festspiele with Christian Gerhaher as Papageno and Diana Damrau as the Queen? That's by far my favorite version of this truly wonderful masterpiece. And Diana Damrau's Queen is paradise.

Oh yeah, I also like baritones (being one) better than tenors truly.

Good luck and greetings from Mexico City.


Totally agreed! He needs a hug. And he's adorable. I always loved the character, but in this movie, you can't resist him. He's so humanly. Reminds me a little of Sam Gamgee. All he wants is a peaceful life, a loving family and nature. He's not a hero, just a man. Tamino is too stern and heroic, plus he's a boring lyric tenor. Baritones are always better.


The servants nearly always get the most popular roles in Mozart operas (think of Despina, Figaro, Leporello). In that respect (as in a number of others), both Mozart and Bergman follow Shakespeare.

And bear in mind that Schikaneder, the famous comic actor-manager who wrote the text, set aside the role of Papageno for himself.

You need to have a very good tenor indeed before Tamino gets a bigger ovation that Papageno at the end.

I used to want to change the world. Now I just want to leave the room with a little dignity.



Well, Papageno is definitely the most accessible character.

The thing is, I took a master class years ago with the head of the Zurich Opera, and he pointed out that Americans are very "precious" with Mozart and in fact, when The Magic Flute debuted, it was like Holiday on Ice! I always loved that idea, and I think Papageno exemplifies that.