Anthony Davis to Compose ‘Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote’ Opera for Bodhi Tree Concerts

By David Salazar

Bodhi Tree Concerts has commissioned a new opera from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis.

The work in question, “Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote” will be written by Allan Havis and is set to premiere in January 2026 in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. It will be directed by J. Ed Araiza and co-presented with Opera de Tijuana.

The opera is based on the book by Duncan Tonatiuh and explores the challenges faced by families crossing the border.

“I am so excited to explore the world of Pancho Rabbit in an opera for children and adults,” Davis said in an official press releease. “In telling this story, I would like to explore the political and current issues of the border. I hope to strike a balance with the light-heartedness of the story and the children-friendly animal characters with the implied political world, all too familiar to adults. I hope the music can convey the lyricism and compassion that pervades the story and I hope to draw from the rich musical traditions of Northern Mexico. We intend to create a magical opera that lies between fantasy and the real that can be an ‘Animal Farm’ for today. I am eager to work with Diana and Walter DuMelle of Bodhi Tree Concerts and director J. Ed Araiza. who also directed my opera ‘The Central Park Five,’ in a project that will be presented on both sides of the border and will be especially meaningful for Southern California.”

Davis won a Pulitzer Prize in Music for his “The Central Park Five,” which premiered in 2019. His opera “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” debuted at the Met Opera during the 2023-24 season.