The following activities will help familiarize your students with the plot of Eurydice, 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.
A Spinning Quartet
Sharpen your students’ listening skills with a detailed dive into the famous quartet from Act III of Rigoletto. Draw students’ attention to the four individual lines, and ask them to think about how the music and text work together to express each character’s feelings. Finally, invite students to create a colorful paper spinner inspired by the quartet and Bartlett Sher’s turntable stage.
Picture Plot Statues
Introduce students to a selection of words and ideas from Weimar-era Berlin—hedonism, agitprop, die neue Frau, cabaret, talkies, and Ringvereine—and ask them to research these words individually or in groups. Ask them to reflect: Based on your research, why might Bartlett Sher have decided to set Rigoletto in Germany in the 1920s? Finally, invite students to use their research and what they know about Rigoletto’s plot to craft an evolved statue performance.
Study some of George Grosz’s Expressionist caricatures. Then invite your students to create their own Expressionist portraits, thinking about how exaggerated or distorted features might reflect the subject’s personality. Tip: Use a very long paintbrush (tape a paintbrush to the end of a yard stick or other long stick) to help get a distorted, Expressionistic result.
COMMON CORE CONNECTIONS
These activities directly support the following ELA-Literacy Common Core Strands:
Interpret, analyze, and evaluate narratives, poetry, and drama, aesthetically and ethically by making connections to: other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, eras, personal events and situations.
Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
Use experience and knowledge of language and logic, as well as culture, to think analytically, address problems creatively, and advocate persuasively.
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.