It is Act II and the setting is a Temple of Wisdom in a faraway land, place and time. Throughout the course of the opera, Papageno, a bird-catcher, has been trying to find a wife. Though he fails in most of the trials that Sarastro, the High Priest of the Temple of Wisdom asks him to endure, the Three Spirits arrive just in the nick of time to keep Papageno from ending his life! Miraculously, he is forgiven his failures in the trials, and he is presented with Papagena, a beautiful bird girl who will be his wife. In typical musical and thematic brilliance, W.A. Mozart features the two characters, within a chirping orchestral underpinning, in an ebullient and charming avian duet. They sing of all of the wonderful little Papagenas and Papagenos they will produce in joy, laughter and love!
Rachel Looney, soprano
Rachel Looney has been praised by The Times Picayune for her smooth silvery tone and ringing top notes. In November, 2018, she made her operatic debut with the New Orleans Opera as La statue animée in Rameau’s Pygmalion. Rachel has also performed with New Orleans Opera’s “Opera on Tap,” the Victory Belles at the National WWII Museum, and Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre. She has logged over 20 performances as the title role in the New Orleans Opera touring production, Little Red Riding Hood. Rachel holds a Master of Music degree from Loyola University New Orleans where she studied with Luretta Bybee and performed the role of Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.
Frank Convit, baritone
Frank Convit, described as singing with the “poignant power of a seasoned soloist” (Richard Balthazar Blog), has been captivating audiences with his rich timbre and ringing high notes. In March of 2020, Frank made his Midwest debut with Heartland Opera Theatre as Marco in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Earlier that year, Frank also made his New Orleans Opera debut as Loreé a wonded soldier in Tchaikovsky’s Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans). He regularly performs in the New Orleans Opera touring show Little Red Riding Hood as the Big Bad Wolf. In 2019, Frank performed as Pandolfe in the Loyola Opera Theater production of Massenet’s Cendrillon, and, In 2018, Frank performed as Pablo Picasso in Tom Cipullo’s Afterlife with the Loyola Opera Theater, for the National Opera Association Convention.
Jesse Reeks, pianist
Jesse Reeks is the son of two very successful musicians, and he has played the piano since he was old enough to speak! He is also an expert on the accordion and a master-level organist. Jesse is comfortable in any realm of music, from secular to sacred and from classical to jazz. He has been the collaborative pianist for the Opéra Nouvelle series for the past year and a half, and he maintains an active performance schedule, even on the “virtual” level!