Don Quixote Home Page Cervantes' Spain The Story Making Connections to the Arts Lessons [side curve]

Discovering Opera

Unit Overview

Who is Rigoletto?

What is the Structure of the Story?

Why Do These Characters Act This Way?

From Story to Stage

Developing a Libretto

The Composer and the Librettist

Operatic Conventions

How Do Words and Music Help Us Understand the Characters


The Enduring Quest
Man of La Mancha


Discovering Opera Icon

Discovering Opera through Rigoletto


From Story to Stage

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Length: 1-2 class periods



Language Arts, Performing Arts

Subtopics: Theater, Music, Literature
Intelligences Being Addressed: Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Musical/Rhythmic, Verbal/Linguistic
Dimensions of Learning: Acquisition and integration of knowledge, Extension and refinement of knowledge

Students will learn to analyze the story and break it down into the simplest main points. They will learn to distinguish between main points and detail. This will be done through discussion and final hand-drawn charts.


TV/video player
CD player
Bulletin board

Materials: The Black Dog Opera Library Series
video starring Pavoratti (Jean Pierre Ponelle film version)
Hand Outs: Direction Cards
Rigoletto's Story; part 1 and part 2
Student Supplies:

Pencil and paper
Large newsprint paper
Crayon or marker

Teacher Internet Resources:

Lesson and Extension-Specific Resources: See unit overview

General Internet Resources: See unit overview


National Standards for Arts Education:
Music 5-8, Standards 6, 7, 8, 9
Instructional Objectives:

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the complete story of Rigoletto.


Guided activity
Group process
Hands-on project
Imaginative thinking
Critical thinking strategies

Instructional Plan:

1. As a warm up, read the definition of a synopsis. How is a synopsis different from a story? How would you create a synopsis from a story?

2. Have students retell the events in Rigoletto as a group in ten sentences or less. Each sentence should contain as much information as possible. If the students cannot tell the story in the required ten sentences, what will they eliminate?

3. Divide the students into ten groups. Assign each group a sentence from the developed synopsis. Furnish each group with large newsprint paper and crayons or markers. Each group will illustrate their sentence. They may either create a picture in which they all contribute, or they may take separate areas of the paper and create separate illustrations.

4. The illustrations will be placed on a bulletin board to give a visual synopsis of the plot of Rigoletto. The illustrations may be connected by sequence words, i.e., soon, meanwhile, after that, etc.



Were students able to pare down the story to its main points? Do they understand the difference between the main point and a detail?


Continue to lesson 5.

Teacher References:

Black Dog Opera Series Rigoletto CD


Submission Date: November 1, 2000

© ARTSEDGE, 2000