• Lucia di Lammermoor Classroom Activities

The activities in this guide address several aspectsnof Lucia di Lammermoor:

  • Donizetti’s use of operatic conventions to convey the emotional journeys of his characters
  • The interplay of voice and orchestra
  • Acquaintance with aspects of the opera that have become well known in western culture
  • The production as a unified work of art, involving creative decisions by the artists of the Metropolitan Opera

The guide seeks not only to acquaint students with Lucia di Lammermoor and the unique aspects of this Metropolitan Opera production, but also to encourage them to think more broadly about opera—and the performing arts in general—as a means of personal and philosophical expression. Little prior knowledge is required for the activities.

 

Opera's Emotional Two-Step: A Close Look at the Double Aria

Lucia di Lammermoor is an opera about emotions—and it can sweep listeners up in the emotions its characters express. That’s no accident. Donizetti makes use of specific creative techniques to present the emotional states of his characters. In this activity, students will consider his use of the double aria—a two-movement structure that conveys a character’s shifting feelings from one section to the next. Students will:

  • Listen closely to four pairs of related arias
  • Consider aspects of musical style and structure used to convey and contrast characters’ feelings in each of the pairs
  • Identify different musical characteristics used to convey different characters’ personalities
  • Critique the double-aria form in light of their own emotional experiences
  • Become familiar with Lucia di Lammermoor in advance of The Met: Live in HD transmission

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Talk, Talk, Talk: A Close Look at Recitative

Recitative is an operatic convention , a style of delivery in which a singer talks rather than sings. Composers use it for one very good reason: sometimes only conversation can advance the plot. But recitative is more than sung conversation. It is a very specific type of music whose technical characteristics can be used to very specific effect. In this activity, students will:

  • Listen closely to four examples of recitative from Lucia di Lammermoor
  • Consider the relationship of words to sung melody
  • Interpret interactions between vocal and instrumental music
  • Identify a parallel to the “recitative effect” in contemporary culture

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