Don Giovanni Teaching Resources

Art and Design Key Stage 3

How do set designers send a character to hell?

Ask students to make notes on how they would design the set. Write down at least 10 words that describe the mood, what they would add and what parts of the set move.
Students can create a tunnel book showing their own set design for the scene when Don Giovanni refuses to repent and is taken down to hell. Students could:
  • Consider how they are going to depict hell (as flames or ice, how would this work on the stage)?
  • Decide where Don Giovanni will exit (through the floor or could part of the stage move to hide him)?
  • Experiment with the colour palette should they use (monochrome, realistic, etc.)?

How can you tell the story of Don Giovanni to other people?

Ask students to read the plot and, in small groups, make a decision on the six key dramatic points in the story (three in each act). For example, the duel between Don Giovanni and The Commendatore.

Create thumbnail sketches of the six scenes which make a storyboard.

Create a comic book of the opera using the storyboard as a guide; it could be a manga style comic book, made from photomontages of magazine images, or inspired by an illustrator like Chris Riddell.

How important are masks and deception in Don Giovanni?

Look at production gallery, ensuring students know the main characters, and ask them to name each character in this photo.
Introduce the main reasons for wearing masks (rituals, performance, disguise, etc.). Along with your students, look at the character descriptions in the opera.

Ask students to list the main character traits of Don Giovanni, Leporello and Donna Anna. Make clay or papier-mâché masks that show the true nature of these characters so they are not disguised anymore. Students could consider:

  • Exaggerated features, like large lips for Don Giovanni, as he tells lies
  • Animals that the character might resemble, like Donna Anna having lion or eagle-like features because she is brave.

How does our society deal with death?

Investigate what students know and understand about death and their beliefs about an afterlife. What happens when we die? Do they believe in an afterlife? Who gets to go to an afterlife? Is it on merit or does everybody go?

Compare how saints’ relics were decorated and worshipped in medieval churches with late 20th century artworks like ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ by Damien Hirst and ‘Monument’ by Susan Hiller.

Students can then create a small monument or tomb for a person or a historical event that is inspired by Susan Hiller’s work using card relief and a shoe box.

Homework

Research and find examples of masks from other cultures and popular culture. Cut the pictures in half and draw the other half in a variety of media and create a mask poster.

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