The Coyotes and the Rabbits/Los Coyotes y Las Conejas (1999)

A Bilingual Children's Opera

Hector Armienta has adapted one of the oldest Mexican folk tales known, The Coyote and the Rabbit, and turned into a lesson about the value of an education. It is told by two mischievous but well intentioned rabbits known as Manzana and Banana. The story begins when a young Coyote, named Scrawny, is visited by his cousin, Loco. When Loco finds out that Scrawny is learning how to read, something no decent Coyote would ever do, Loco has made it his mission to set his cousin on the “right path”. What follows are a series of misadventures, due to Loco’s inability to read and his ignorance. In the end, Scrawny realizes that an education is the key to long and fruitful life.

Music Theater Collaborative
Forth Worth Opera
Tulsa Opera 


Once upon a time, there lived two sisters, who lived on top of a mountain. On top of the mountain, there is well, a  tree and an enormous book.  One sister is called Chiquita and the other is called Banana. Chiquita decided it was time for a story so she woke up her sister, Banana, and they both began to tell the story of the Coyotes and the Rabbits/Los Coyotes y las Conejas. They then  decided they would become the rabbits in the story.  As the story begins, a young coyote, named Scrawny appears. He loves to read and write but has always been told that coyotes are not suppose  to do such things.  Just as he begins reading, he hears someone coming up the hill. It’s his cousin  Coyote Loco and he’s driving his famous Coyote Mobile. Loco has come in search of rabbit skin,  which he will use to finish lining the inside of his Coyote Mobile. When he finds out  that his cousin Scrawny has begun reading, he is shocked and annoyed. Loco decides to show his younger cousin how a real Coyote is suppose to behave. He’s going to hunt some rabbits and take his cousin with him. They both leave just as Chiquita and Banana appear. The two rabbits soon hear Loco coming and Banana decides to play a trick on him. Chiquita leaves. Chiquita picks up a stick and pretends to be holding up the sky with it as Loco approaches. When Loco finds her, Chiquita warns him that if he eats her, the stick will fall and the sky will come down on his head. Afraid of the sky falling down, Loco decides not to eat Chiquita, but is still hungry.  Chiquita promises that if he holds up the stick, she’ll go and get him some food. Loco agrees and holds up the stick.  Of course,  she has no intention of returning and so makes a quick escape. Scrawny arrives and when Loco tells him why he’s holding up the stick, Scrawny tells him he’s been tricked. Loco is furious. Chiquita appears and Loco mistakes her for Banana. Scrawny trys to warn him about the sisters, but Loco tells him to go. It is now night time and the moon is full.  When Loco calls Chiquita by the wrong name and tries to eat her,  Chiquita pretends to be insulted. Loco is so shocked by the way she is acting, he apologizes. Chiquita then tells him about the most delicious  cheese in the entire world. She tells him that the cheese is  in the middle of the lake and all he has to do is go out and swim to it. Ofcourse, this is just a trick. What Loco sees in the lake is the reflection of the moon. Being that he has never read a book in his life, he does not know what a reflection is and decides to go and get the “cheese”. He leaves just as Scrawny appears reading a book. Without Scrawny knowing it, both Chiquita and Banana are watching him. They surprise him and when they ask him what he is reading, Scrawny pretends he wasn’t  reading anything at all. The rabbit sisters leave.

Loco then appears, completely wet after having swam in the lake and never reached the cheese. Scrawny explains to him that what he saw was the  reflection of the moon. Loco asks him how he knew that and when Scrawny tells him he learned about reflections  in a book, Loco is furious. He’s upset that Scrawny is still reading and that the two rabbits have tricked him again.  He is determined to show his cousin that coyotes don’t need to read and write. They leave to go after the Rabbbit Sisters. Soon both the rabbits appear. They decide to play one last trick on Loco. They take out a toy telephone they made in class. They put one end of it in the well and hold the other end.  They then go to hide behind the tree. Loco and Scrawny appear. They hear the voices of the rabbits coming from the well. But what they hear is the sound being carried over the toy telephone wire. Loco thinks that he has trapped the rabbits in the well. Chiquita and Banana sneak up behind him, without either Loco or Scrawny knowing it. When the rabbits surprise Loco, he accidentally falls in the well and is never seen again. Scrawny notices what happens and can read the signs around the well. They say danger. He is very glad that he can read and learns that reading is a very important thing to be able to do.

Production Details


45 minutes in duration

Piano, two sopranos, one tenor, and one baritone.