The following activities will help familiarize your students with the plot of La Fille du Régiment, forge connections between a variety of classroom subjects, and encourage creative responses to the opera. They are designed to be accessible to a wide array of ages and experience levels.
Analyzing “Ah! Mes amis – pour mon âme”
Ask your students to follow along with a musical score as they listen to Tonio’s famous aria. As they listen, ask them to color-code elements of the score: tempo indications, dynamics, articulation, all things related to key, etc.
“Everyone Knows …”
Invite students to composer their own celebratory anthem for Marie’s regiment—or for something (or someone) else they love.
Have students listen to “Au bruit de la guerre” and “Ah! Mes amis – pour mon âme.” As they listen, ask them to rank each singer’s execution of various vocal techniques, such as melismas, high notes, and trills. Which singer “wins” in this operatic version of the Olympics?
“I Am From” Poem
Use the “I Am From” poetry prompt to help students dive into their own surroundings and those of the characters in the opera. As students respond to the prompt, the poem will become a vehicle for both in-depth character study and self-examination.
Study the history of the Lederhosen, the Austrian overalls that Tonio wears in La Fille du Regiment. Then invite students to create their own “Lederhosen” and put on a fashion show.
Invite students to create a map with the various locations featured in La Fille du Régiment, including the regiment’s camp, Tonio’s village, Château Birkenfeld, and the cliff where Marie and Tonio first met. Take this opportunity to speak with your students more broadly about reading and drawing maps.
Use a roll of toilet paper to create a timeline with events germane to La Fille du Régiment’s story; each square of paper will be one year. You may wish to use the two timelines in this guide as a starting point.
COMMON CORE CONNECTIONS
These activities directly support the following ELA-Literacy Common Core Strands:
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6–8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.