Rigoletto Teaching Resources

Art and Design Key Stage 4

Rigoletto Art and Design Key Stage 4

Lesson one

Theme/ Activity headline: depravity of the Duke, right and wrong, moral dilemma, truth and lies. Painting.

Curriculum attainment targets: develop critical understanding through investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills. Develop an awareness of the purposes, intentions and functions of art, craft and design in a variety of contexts and as appropriate to students’ own work

Visual elements: line, composition, shape, tone

Starter activity

  • Look at the term Chiaroscuro.
  • Look at an image where strong contrast is made between dark and light in the composition.
  • How has the artist achieved balance?
  • What is the focal point?
  • How is your eye led around the image?
  • What is the light source?

Artists to look at might include: Georges de la Tour, Delacroix, El Greco, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Rubens, Goya.

Main activity

Painting and design

Look at examples of Notan and how it is used as a device to break down a painting into areas of dark and light. Notan is a Japanese term meaning light, dark harmony. Artists use it to analyse images without distractions of other elements like colour and fine detail.

Taking a copy of one of the paintings studied, make a 2 value Notan copy- use just black and white- paint, dark pencil or black marker pen.

This can also be done digitally when an image is scanned in/ manipulated.


Can you sketch out a painting translating it to a 3 or 4 value scale? (shades of grey).

Lesson two

Theme/ Activity headline: the tongue of malice and revenge – the curse. Design.

Curriculum attainment targets: develop knowledge and understanding of art, craft and design in historical and contemporary contexts, societies and cultures. Develop creative, imaginative and intuitive capabilities when exploring and making images, artefacts and products.

Visual Elements: composition, line, shape, tone, pattern, proportion

Starter activity

Vengeance and retaliation are strong emotions. When betrayed, people can lose trust and feel vulnerable leading to revenge.

Different artists have taken these emotions as themes to portray events in history.

Look at the work of Artemesia Gentileschi.

Main activity


Revenge is a theme often found in gaming and films.

Design a simple print based on an aspect of revenge.

Look at Japanese woodblocks for inspiration. Simplify a composition based on revenge and draw out a couple of designs- keep this black and white. It will be helpful to think about Notan design aspects.

Take one of your designs into either lino or relief print.


Can you add colour to one print by working on the top surface in a drawing medium? Scan your print into a computer and digitally add colour.

Lesson three

Theme/ Activity headline: thunder and lightning, night and light, atmospheric light. Photography.

Curriculum attainment targets: actively engage in the creative process of art, craft and design in order to develop as effective and independent learners, and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds. Become confident in taking risks and learn from experience when exploring and experimenting with ideas, processes, media, materials and techniques.

Visual elements: shape, tone, form, surface

Starter activity

Research photographers who specialise in images taken at night including: Brassaï, Bill Schwab, William Fraser, David Baldwin and others.

Main activity


The setting of night time is a crucial element in the scenes and music of Verdi’s Rigoletto. The theme of Thunder and Lightning is also used to great dramatic and musical effect.

Explore taking photographs to conjure up atmospheric lighting conditions. You could do this by:

Taking photos at night. Exploring shutter speed to capture movement and light sources. Looking at how to photograph the moon successfully.

Setting up taking images inspired by the night sky and atmospheric dark and stormy skies- Try paint swirls, dropping dyes in water tanks, light sources such as torch, fairy lights in a dark room.

Taking photographs through misted or partially obscure surfaces. Explore focus and depth of field.

Explore black and white and colour images.


Manipulate images digitally. Explore different filters to create contrast. This will link to previous lessons.

Lesson four

Theme/ Activity headline: protection and retribution, fall from grace, double faced life. 3D relief.

Curriculum attainment targets: develop and refine ideas and proposals, personal outcomes or solutions with increasing independence acquire and develop technical skills through working with a broad range of media, materials, techniques, processes and technologies with purpose and intent demonstrate safe working practices in art, craft and design.

Visual elements: shape, form, surface, texture, contour, tone

Starter activity

James Ensor made different versions of images around the theme of ‘Demons who torment me’.

Edvard Munch made a series of work capturing different emotions and often dealing with themes of relationships, life and death.

Research these artists and their work.

Main activity

3D Relief

Using 3D materials translate ideas taken from the work of Ensor and/or Munch and design a relief piece. Draw out a design in your sketchbook.

You could explore using Papier-mâché, Clay, Plaster, Wax, Plasticine, Card relief.
Materials that can be moulded would suit this well. Consider carefully how you use line and contour to enliven the surface.

You may want to colour the surface or to leave it plain.


Can you photograph your 3D piece? What happens when you light it from different directions? You could take ideas from this work and develop an animation.

Image credits: Rigoletto, Festival 2019, artwork by Shadric Toop

You might also like

Learning & Engagement
Bring opera to life in the classroom with our teaching resou…
Discover opera and be part of extraordinary artistic experie…
Our flagship summer programme of world class opera
Glyndebourne Shop
Our online shop offers a great selection of exclusive and locally sourced products. Every purchase supports our work.
Become a Member
Enjoy priority booking for the Festival. Find out how you can join as an Associate Member
Support us
Glyndebourne is a charity and the Festival receives no public subsidy. We rely on generous supporters who are passionate about opera.