• Don Pasquale Classroom Activity

The activities in this guide address several aspects of Don Pasquale:

  • the opera as a model of timeless comedy conventions
  • Donizetti’s witty musical depiction of dialogue
  • comedy’s ability to convey serious cultural messages
  • the universal significance of a story set in a specific era of the past
  • the production as a unified work of art, involving creative decisions by the artists of the Metropolitan Opera

The guide is intended to cultivate students’ interest in Don Pasquale whether or not they have any prior acquaintance with opera. It includes activities for students with a wide range of musical backgrounds, seeking to encourage them to think about opera—and the performing arts in general—as a medium of entertainment and as creative expression.

 

Comedic Blueprint:
A Close Look at Comedic Structure

Don Pasquale is one of those operatic masterworks that require little introduction. Students may not be familiar with this work in particular, but they’ll recognize its format right away. With a comically flawed central character and a supporting cast determined to teach him a lesson, Donizetti’s tale follows a timeless set of genre conventions. In this Classroom Activity, students will study those conventions and the effectiveness of their application in this opera. They will:

  • be introduced to a set of categories for analyzing situation comedy
  • listen closely to excerpts demonstrating the elements of sitcom in Don Pasquale
  • identify qualities in music and libretto that support character-driven and situational humor
  • apply their understandings by developing their own situation comedy plots

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