L'elisir d'amore Teaching Resources

Music Key Stage 3

L'elisir d'amore Music Key Stage 3

Lesson one

Theme/ Activity headline: The Gentle Man

Curriculum attainment targets: Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression.

Starter activity

The Gentle Man
Listen to Nemorino singing ‘Caro Elisir’ on entering the room.

Provide a collection of key words on separate pieces of paper or card, which are connected to the overall plot/ synopsis of L’elisir d’amore. In groups, learners can try to guess the plot- arranging the words in different ways.

One collection could be:

  • A man
  • A woman
  • A soldier
  • Some unrequited love
  • A love potion
  • A marriage proposal
  • A cancelled marriage
  • Some inheritance
  • Some jealousy
  • A happy ending

Main activity

Play ‘Una furtiva Lagrima’ (Act ll) and encourage learners to walk around the space freely in time to the music. Place props around the room for learners to explore which conjure up the idea of a humble, soft, warm-hearted, sincere person.

Create a class poster using learners’ words to describe this piece of music and also to describe the character of the person singing- namely, Nemorino.

Play the aria again and encourage learners to sing/ play along as they listen.


  • words/libretto
  • musical features, including structure
  • relationship between the words and the music
  • the drama that could be added to a live performance


Can you think of other characters similar to Nemorino? Examples could come from novels, opera, popular music, film, television…..

Do some research and write down a couple of other examples.

Lesson two

Theme/ Activity headline: Glittering Adina

Curriculum attainment targets: Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the interrelated dimensions of music

Starter activity

Glittering Adina

In groups, discuss the idea of the love potion and try to think of other love potions that have been used in the creative arts. Can you give some examples?

Main activity

Listen to Adina’s first Aria, ‘Della crudele Isotta’ (Act l).

Invite learners to write words on a large piece of paper, to describe their responses to the aria. Encourage them to think about the musical features that are used to portray Adina’s character. How would you describe her character from listening to this aria?

In groups of four, create a short ‘loop-based’ piece of music/song which could be used to represent the light-footed, confident Adina.

Scaffold this activity according to individual learner needs. For instance, provide a set group of notes (such as the black notes on a piano or five notes from a xylophone) for learners to work with. Learners can then layer short ‘loops’ using voices and/ or tuned percussion or other instruments.
Perform to the whole class, practising positive, specific and useful feedback techniques.


Create a poem about a love potion, or create a poem which could be used as a love potion. This work may be used in one of the upcoming starter activities.

Lesson three

Theme/ Activity headline: The Allure of Dark Side

Curriculum attainment targets: Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory

Starter activity

The Allure of Dark Side

Listen to a love song such as ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police, as learners enter.

In groups. Pick one of the love potion poems from the previous extension activity. Read it through and adapt/ change/ develop the poem as necessary so that all members of the group are happy with it. Ensure that the poem has a strong pulse and clear rhythm as it is spoken.

Main activity

Listen to Dulcamara’s first aria ‘Udite, udite, O rustici!’ (Listen, all you townsfolk) followed by Belcore singing ‘Come Paride vezzoso!’

Discuss both the words/libretto and the meaning of the words. Then use high-order questioning to encourage learners to think about these two characters and the musical techniques used to bring them to life. 

Are these two characters persuasive and convincing? Would you trust them?

Now turn your love potion poems into raps with a slightly dark flavour to them. Focusing on:

  • the words, meaning, and creating dark undertones
  • the pulse/ beat and rhythm of the words
  • adding beatboxing or percussion
  • adding actions or movement to bring the rap to life


Draw a picture of a love potion that you want to sell to the public. Label it and write one line of prose to describe it.

Lesson four

Theme/ Activity headline: Comic Opera: just a bit of a giggle?

Curriculum attainment targets: Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians.

Starter activity

Comic Opera: just a bit of a giggle?

Listen to a recording of Vera Lynn singing ‘We’ll meet again’ as learners enter the room. Can anyone guess what this song is about?

Display the words ‘All is fair in love and war’ and ask learners to share their thoughts on what this could mean. Discuss in a variety of different ways and guide learners, using high-order questioning.

Main activity

Listen again to ‘Una furtiva Lagrima’ (Act ll) whilst walking around the room.
Play a game, and when the music stops, freeze, and adopt a pose to express Nemorino’s feelings.

Discuss the idea of the comic opera in relation to the feelings of the characters and how they are portrayed and expressed.

In groups, if you were the director of this opera, what would be your overall aims and intentions for the production? Write a short paragraph stating your intentions. What kind of experience would you want the audience to have?

Finally, see if you can find out a bit about Director Annabel Arden’s intentions for L’elisir d’amore. Do they align with any of your intentions or are they different?

Listen to favourite parts of the opera listened to so far and describe one musical detail you like and why.


Write a few words about your favourite parts of the opera. This could include favourite parts of the plot, favourite words or favourite bits of music for instance. Explain your thoughts clearly, using some musical technical language if possible.

Image credits: L’elisir d’amore, Festival 2011, photos by Bill Cooper

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