La traviata Teaching Resources
Music Key Stage 4
Initiate a discussion on the impact of opera being completely sung. What are the advantages or disadvantages? Why not have passages of dialogue as in a musical? Play the clip, explaining that it is a cavatina with recitative, aria and cabaletta, and that this is the standard form.
Explain the meaning of the libretto. In groups, using appropriate musical terms, discuss the characteristics of each section and why they are appropriate to the emotion of the character, concluding in a class discussion. Now with knowledge of the form, play the clip again. Focus on the relationship between the voices, this should be extended into a full analysis of the extract.
For homework, research an opera composed by Mozart and spend time listening to a section of recitative. What are its musical characteristics? How does it compare with the Verdi? What is the instrumentation? What is the pace of the text? Write a short piece of prose to address the differences. In a subsequent lesson, in groups or individually, compose a short section of recitative. Write a short conversation between two characters and set to music over a simple harmonic structure (either composed by them or provided, depending on ability).