This study guide has been developed to help you and your students explore the subject of opera


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This study guide has been developed to help you and your students explore the subject of opera, The Barber of Seville and a wide variety of related subjects. The guide approaches these subjects via a wide range of disciplines, including language arts, reading, math, science, problem-solving and social studies. It has been divided into three major sections:

  • Opera at a Glance opens students’ eyes to opera with a basic, accessible introduction to the art of opera in general.

  • The Barber of Seville and More offers an interdisciplinary approach to educating students about The Barber of Seville and related subjects.

  • For the Teacher provides teachers with additional ideas, plans and resources that can be used to enhance the material found in the guide.

Curriculum Standards

Each activity in this guide has been linked to the Ohio Content Standards. In using this guide, we hope you will feel free to adapt pages or activities to best meet the needs of your students. A simple activity may be a perfect launching pad for a higher-level lesson, and a complex lesson may contain key points onto which younger students can latch. Please make this guide your own.


Students will be able to…

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a variety of music styles and cultures and the context of musical expression or events, both past and present. Students identify significant contributions of composers and performers to music heritage. Students analyze the historical, social and political forces that have influenced the function and role of music in the lives of people.

  • Identify and respond to music of historical and cultural origins.

  • Recognize the interaction of people in music.

Listen to a varied repertoire of music and respond by analyzing and describing music using correct terminology. Students evaluate the creating and performing of music by using appropriate criteria.

  • Discuss and evaluate individual and group music performance.

Demonstrate an understanding of reasons why people value music and a respect for diverse opinions regarding music preferences. Students articulate the significance of music in their lives.

  • Demonstrate how music communicates meaning of text, feelings, moods or images, and influences personal preferences.

  • Attend live music performances and demonstrate audience behavior appropriate for the context and style of music performed.

English Language Arts

Acquisition of Vocabulary Standard

Students will be able to…

  • Use context clues to determine the meaning of new vocabulary.

  • Use resources to determine the meanings and pronunciations of unknown words.

  • Use multiple resources to enhance comprehension of vocabulary.

Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and Self-Monitoring Strategies Standard

Students will be able to…

  • Demonstrate comprehension by responding to questions (e.g., literal, informational and evaluative).

  • Determine a purpose for reading and use a range of reading comprehension strategies to better understand text.

Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text Standard

Students will be able to…

  • Use visual aids as sources to gain additional information from text.

  • Use text features and graphics to organize, analyze and draw inferences from content and to gain additional information.

  • Recognize the difference between cause and effect as compared to fact and opinion to analyze text.

Literary Text Standard

Students will be able to…

  • Use supporting details to identify and describe main ideas, characters and setting.

  • Recognize the defining characteristics and features of different types of literary forms and genres.

  • Describe and analyze the elements of character development.

  • Analyze the importance of setting.

Writing Process Standard

Students will be able to…

  • Use revision strategies to improve the coherence of ideas, clarity of sentence structure and effectiveness of word choices.

  • Use a variety of resources and reference materials to select more effective vocabulary when editing.

  • Edit to improve sentence fluency, grammar and usage.

Writing Applications Standard

Students will be able to…

  • Write narrative accounts that develop character, setting and plot.

  • Write formal and informal letters that include important details and follow correct letter format.

Writing Conventions Standard

Students will be able to…

  • Use conventions of punctuation in written work.

  • Use grammatical structures to effectively communicate ideas in writing.

Research Standard

Students will be able to…

  • Identify a topic of study, construct questions and determine appropriate sources for gathering information.

Why opera?

"To be completely and comprehensively educated means having a background in the arts. By introducing students to opera, we build and sustain cultural intelligence. ... Passing on knowledge and understanding about the power of opera to communicate universal themes, ideas and emotions ultimately enhances and betters our society. ... [Opera] stretches students and teachers in directions they never thought possible.

--Dr. Joseph Piro, New York City Public Schools

What is opera?

Opera is a dramatic story told through song. It is considered by many to be the most complete art form, combining all of the elements of art, words, music, drama and dance. The earliest Italian operas were called several things, such as “favola in musica” (fable in music) and “dramma per musica” (drama by means of music). This last title is very close to the dictionary definition, and is the correct basis for any discussion about opera.

The unique thing in opera is the use of music to convey an entire story/plot. This is based on the feeling that music can communicate people’s reactions and emotions better than words (read or spoken) or pictures. Opera takes any type of dramatic story and tries to make it more exciting and more believable with the help of music. Many famous stories have been made into operas, including Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Romeo and Juliet.

Operas are made up of many ingredients, like recipes. Each ingredient may be good by itself, but gets even better when they are all put together. Can someone name a favorite dish or recipe that would demonstrate what I'm talking about? (Example;. take ice cream and add chocolate, nuts, whipped cream, cherries, etc.)


Ask students to write down three things they know about opera. Take time to share the information and misconceptions with the class. Distribute the Opera Vocabulary handout to the class (page 31.)
So what are these interesting ingredients that make up an opera? Can you help me write a top ten list of ingredients that make up an opera?

1. A good story idea (simple or complex)

2. Beautiful, singable melodies or tunes

3. Talented singers

4. Well-acted telling of the tale

5. Beautiful or effective scenery or sets

6. Scenic, magical stage lights

7. Realistic or imaginative costumes

8. Stage make-up

9. An effective accompaniment (piano or orchestra)

10. Often an exciting chorus
What can we say specifically an opera is?

Opera: A story told in song and in action, on stage, that is performed by individuals and sometimes a group of people called a chorus. Most operas have orchestral accompaniment made up of various instruments or sometimes they are accompanied by piano alone. Does that sound like a musical?
Opera is different in two special ways:

1. Operas are mostly all sung with very little talking. Opera singers sometimes use ‘recitative’ (an Italian word meaning to recite) to help move the story line along by speaking in musical tones.

2. The artists who sing opera have specially trained voices that can sing a wide range of notes. They also can project their voices over a piano or even an orchestra so they don't need microphones in order to be heard. (Remember, opera began long before electricity was discovered so early opera singers didn't have microphones.)

No matter how little time you have!
0-15 Minutes:

  • Play a CD of The Barber of Seville as background music in your classroom.

  • Have students work independently on study guide sheets and projects.

  • Keep books and CDs available for independent use.

15-45 Minutes:

  • One of the most important things a teacher can do to prepare students for the opera is to familiarize them with the story. Read and discuss the story of The Barber of Seville.

  • Start a large “K-W-L” chart (what students KNOW, WANT to know, and, eventually, LEARNED) about opera. Keep the list visible so your class can add to it throughout the unit.

  • Listen to selections from the opera and write or discuss reactions to the music. Find relevant geographical locations (Spain, Seville) on a classroom map.

  • After reading the story, create discussion questions for students to talk about in small groups.

  • Play “musical chairs” to selections from The Barber of Seville.

45+ Minutes:

  • Have students write a story, poem, or rap based on The Barber of Seville or their reactions to a musical selection from the opera.

  • Have students paint The Barber of Seville background scenery on butcher paper.

  • Choose one of the “Project Ideas” found in this section.

  • Produce a “Classroom Opera” about your class. Write your own music or sing it to a tune you already know.


Born: February 29, 1792

Died: November 13, 1868

Gioachino Rossini was an Italian composer. He was the most popular composer of opera of his time. Like many composers, Rossini learned about music from his parents. Gioachino’s father played the horn and the trumpet.

His mother was an opera singer. When Gioachino was a little boy, he learned to play the piano and to sing. Because of his parents, Gioachino also learned a lot about opera.

Gioachino wrote his first opera in 1810. His most famous was The Barber of Seville. Many of Gioachino’s operas were comedies. He wrote his last opera, William Tell, in 1829, when he was only 37 years old.

After that, Gioachino did not write much music. He only wrote small pieces of music for his friends, or for the church. You might have even heard some of his songs in Bugs Bunny cartoons! But, when he was alive, no one wrote opera better than Gioachino Rossini.

Gioachino Rossini

Gioachino Rossini was the most popular and prolific operatic composer of his day. He was adored all over Italy and eventually across Europe as he moved to Vienna and Paris. He became such a center of the operatic world that composers like Cimarosa and Paisiello were nearly forgotten and contemporaries like Bellini and Donizetti were simply overshadowed. And then, at the age of 37, Rossini simply stopped writing. It was not until he was much older that Rossini picked up the pen again, to write mostly short pieces, never again composing in the operatic form that had won him so much fame.

Gioachino Rossini’s remarkable existence began on a fairly remarkable day – February 29, 1792 – in Pesaro, Italy. From the outset, Rossini had little chance of not making a successful career in music. His father, Giuseppe Rossini, was an accomplished horn player and his mother, Anna Guidarini, was a locally famous operatic singer. Not surprisingly then, young Gioachino learned the horn from his father and singing from his mother. Rossini must have been incredibly gifted as a singer because at 14 he was invited to join the same music academy of which his father was a member.

Rossini soon studied counterpoint and composition and also pursued further voice and instrument study. Except for Mozart, Rossini reportedly didn’t generally care for the “serious music” he was forced to study, but there’s no doubt he benefited from the exposure. His achievements in harmony, part-writing and orchestration would not have been so great had he limited himself to the music that prevailed in Italian theaters of the day.

Rossini didn’t write much as a student. Some say he composed numerous arias for insertion into operas around Bologna, but no proof exists. His first definitive commission for an opera was in 1807 for a libretto entitled Demetrio e Polibio. Unfamiliar with the plot, Rossini proceeded anyway, one piece at a time, until the entire score was finished. For Rossini, opera was easy.

Rossini received numerous commissions from a theater in Venice (some successful, some not) and requests from other theaters followed rapidly. Rossini wrote in opera buffa or comic opera style (i.e. The Barber of Seville) and opera seria (i.e. Demetrio e Polibio and Tancredi) and… everywhere in between. Because of the lack of copyright law in Italy at the time, Rossini’s earnings were limited to performances in which he participated. Forced to support both himself and, increasingly, his parents, Rossini delved into one opera after another. He traveled and wrote constantly, often spending less than a month on each work.

But it wasn’t just his need for cash that spurred Rossini on. The only thing more seemingly endless than Rossini’s knack for writing operas was the Italian public’s desire for new works. So Rossini wrote and wrote - An Italian in Algiers, The Turk in Italy, Cinderella, The Thieving Magpie, William Tell - one opera followed another.

In 1822, Rossini married soprano Isabella Colbran. That same year the couple traveled to Vienna where Rossini composed for a theater owned by a friend. After a brief return to Italy and a few more operas, the couple set out for Paris and England. Rossini held a couple of posts in Paris, first as director of the Italian Theater there and then as a composer for the Paris Opera. After six years in Paris, Rossini simply stopped writing opera. His last was William Tell. He was 37. There doesn’t seem to be one clear reason why Rossini stopped composing. Certainly, the number of operas he composed annually had decreased with each passing year.

Also, by now, Rossini had found financial security. Finally, Rossini was ill. All told, he had simply run out of energy. Despite numerous requests and even begging at times,Rossini would write no more operas.

Rossini returned to Bologna in 1837, but not to happier times. In fact, Rossini was miserable there. His marriage to Isabella was troubled from the start and, around 1830, Rossini met a friend named Olympe Pélissier. A year after Isabella’s death in 1845, Rossini married Olympe. But Rossini’s poor health continued. He wrote Stabat Mater, which was received very well and may be one of the few highpoints of this chapter in Rossini’s life.

By 1855 Rossini had had enough of Italy and decided to move back to Paris. The idea was a good one. Rossini was renewed in Paris. His health improved and his sense of humor returned. Testaments to the new and improved Rossini are his 150 or so piano pieces he titled “Sins of Old Age.” This collection of “wit and parody” was a welcome return to the buffo style for which Rossini had become famous. They were a tremendous hit in Paris. Rossini lived out the rest of his life in his villa in Paris with Olympe where he enjoyed celebrity status. When he died (presumably of cancer) in 1868, thousands attended his funeral and memorial services were held throughout France and Italy. He was 76.

Where in Italy is Rossini?

Gioachino Rossini, the composer of The Barber of Seville, was born in Italy.

Many of the 39 operas he wrote take place in different locations around the country. Rossini’s birthplace, Pesaro, is a tiny town just below Rimini, on

the coast.

On the map, find where the following Rossini operas are set and mark the spot with the letter “x.”

1. Tancredi -Find: SYRACUSE

2. Otello- Find: VENICE

3. L'italiana in Algeri- Find: ALGERIA (hint: Algeria is a country)

Now, answer the questions below to follow Rossini on an imaginary journey through Europe. Write the answer on the line and put the number in the correct place on the map.

1. I’m in the country whose capital is Budapest. Where am I?____________

2. I’m on the sea, sailing from Pescara, Italy to Yugoslavia. Where am I?


3. Research Question!

I’m in the country where another composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born. Where am I?_________________________________________

4. Locate Italy on a world map.

(Or the Pre-Story)

Figaro the barber introduces himself as “the factotum for all this great big town!” The word “factotum” is made up of the Latin words for “do everything,” and Figaro is a man of many talents. He used to hold a job as valet, or personal servant, to young Count Almaviva in Madrid. But he left the Count’s household and journeyed through Spain as a writer and jack of-all-trades until he reached Seville. Here he has opened a barbershop. Although sometimes he must struggle to make ends meet, Figaro is now his own man, not someone else’s servant.

One of his clients is a physician named Bartolo. Also living in Dr. Bartolo’s house is Bartolo’s young ward, Rosina. Rosina is an orphan of noble birth, and an heiress of a sizeable fortune.

A few months before the action of the opera begins, Bartolo takes Rosina with him on a trip to Madrid. There, on the famous promenade called the Prado, Count Almaviva catches sight of Rosina and immediately falls in love. The Doctor is aware now of Rosina’s growing attractiveness to other men. He realizes that if she falls in love with someone and moves out when she comes of age, Bartolo will never get his hands on her money! Afraid of this fate, Bartolo hurries Rosina home. The Count follows them back to Seville, where he finds Rosina so tightly locked up that she is a virtual prisoner. So Almaviva disguises himself as a poor student named “Lindoro,” and spends his time beneath Rosina’s window, hoping to catch a glimpse of his beloved…

Here the Opera Begins …

The Barber of Seville

One morning on his way to work, the barber Figaro runs into his former master, Count Almaviva. Almaviva is waiting to catch a glimpse of lovely Rosina, the woman who has caught his eye. Rosina is under the care and close watch of Dr. Bartolo, her grouchy old guardian. The Count promises Figaro a handsome reward if he will help Almaviva rescue Rosina from Bartolo.

Almaviva decides to send a love letter to Rosina. Because he does not want Rosina to love him just for his status as a Count, Almaviva signs the letter as Lindoro, a humble student. Determined to escape from Bartolo’s clutches, Rosina manages to send “Lindoro” a letter telling him that she is attracted to him as well. Dr. Bartolo, meanwhile, plans to marry Rosina for her money. He enlists the help of her unscrupulous music teacher, Don Basilio, to carry out his plan.

To get the Count into the house to see Rosina, Figaro disguises Almaviva as a cavalry officer with orders to be housed by Dr. Bartolo. But Bartolo counters with an official letter showing that he is not required to house soldiers, and the Count has to leave.

The Count returns later the same day, this time disguised as the music teacher “Don Alonso.” He claims that Don Basilio has fallen ill and sent Alonso as a substitute. Bartolo is suspicious. To convince Bartolo that Alonso is scheming for him, not against him, the Count gives Bartolo the love letter that Rosina had sent to “Lindoro.” He suggests that they concoct a story implicating “Lindoro” as the Count’s spy. Reassured, Bartolo allows “Don Alonso” to give Rosina her singing lesson.

At first everything goes well. Behind Bartolo’s back, Rosina and “Lindoro” declare their mutual love. Figaro gets hold of the key to Rosina’s balcony door, so that the Count may return that night and elope with her. But things begin to go wrong. Don Basilio turns up, and must be persuaded (with the help of a bribe) that he is sick with fever and should be home in bed. Then Bartolo sees through the “Don Alonso” disguise, and the Count and Figaro flee.

Bartolo shows Rosina the letter that “Don Alonso” gave him, as proof that her “Lindoro” is planning to turn her over to his aristocratic master, the notorious Count Almaviva. Rosina thinks Almaviva has betrayed her, and she is devastated. Angry and hurt, she agrees to marry Bartolo, even though she will be miserable with him. She also tells Bartolo about the escape they had planned for that night, and he goes to fetch the police.

At midnight, with the help of a ladder and the stolen key, Figaro and the Count enter the house in secret. When Rosina accuses “Lindoro” of being an agent of the Count Almaviva, he reveals his true identity, sure now that Rosina loves him for himself and not his rank or money. The lovers are about to escape when they discover that someone has taken the ladder away. Just then, Basilio and a notary arrive with a marriage contract. The Count bribes Basilio to change the contract to read “Count Almaviva” instead of “Dr. Bartolo,” and the two young people are wed. Upon returning, Bartolo realizes that he has been outwitted. Making the best of it, he gives the couple his blessing.

Briefly define the following drama terms:

1) Plot -

2) Setting -

3) Mood –

4) Hero/heroine –

5) Villain –


What was the plot of the opera?


Describe your favorite character.



Describe the music – was it sad? Was it happy? What were some of the instruments that created these “moods”?


Were there any events or situations in the opera similar to ones you have experienced or to which you really related? Describe in detail.



Draw Your Character

Name Your Character

What Does Your Character Look Like?

What Does Your Character Do?

What Does Your Character Say?

Write your own poems based on any aspect of The Barber of Seville. Your poems could be about opera, love, Figaro, Rosina, or any other subject or character in the opera that interests you.


Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that has three unrhymed lines containing 17 syllables:

Line 1 = 5 syllables

Line 2 = 7 syllables

Line 3 = 5 syllables


A cinquain is a five-line poem with the following form:

Line 1 = Noun or subject

Line 2 = Two adjectives

Line 3 = Three verbs

Line 4 = Four or five words to describe subject

Line 5 = Synonym for the noun in Line 1


A diamante is a diamond-shaped poem about a chosen subject written in the following form:

Line 1 = Noun or subject

Line 2 = Two adjectives

Line 3 = Three verbs ending in –ing

Line 4 = Four words about the subject

Line 5 = Three verbs ending in –ing

Line 6 = Two adjectives

Line 7 = Synonym for subject in line 1

A tanka is an oriental poem of five lines with the following pattern:

Line 1 = 5 syllables

Line 2 = 7 syllables

Line 3 = 5 syllables

Line 4 = 7 syllables

Line 5 = 7 syllables




















Write your own opera review.

What is an opera critic?

An opera critic attends an opera and writes an opinion about the performance. That opinion, also known as a review, is often printed in newspapers or magazines. Critics write reviews about all sorts of things—books, movies, dance, music, plays and more.

Because a critic’s job is to express an honest opinion, a review can be positive or negative. People sometimes read reviews to help them decide if they should see a performance or not.


Four Tips for Writing an Opera Review

1) Create a catchy first sentence.

You want to get the readers’ attention, so the opening, or “lead” sentence, is very

important. This can be a difficult part of writing a review.

Ask yourself:

How can I sum up my opinion in one sentence?

What would catch my attention if I were reading this review?
2) Clearly state what performance you saw.

Tell who gave the performance, the name of the opera, where the performance took place, and the date of the performances.

Ask yourself:

What if people want to come see this performance?

What details do the readers need?
3) Tell why the performance was wonderful, all right, or bad.

Be sure to say WHY you feel the performance was good. It is easy to say what you think. It is more difficult to say why you think it. For most beginning reviewers, the “why step” is the most difficult.

Ask yourself:

What did I like/not like about the performance?

How was the singing?

Were the costumes nice?

Was it too loud? Too soft?

How did the instrumentalist(s) sound?

Readers like to know the reasons for your opinions. Don’t forget to tell them how you developed your opinions about the performance.

4) Talk about individual performances.

Toward the end of the review, you may write about the details of singers’ performances.

Ask yourself :

Did _______ sing well?

Did _____________play his character convincingly?

Whose performances stood out?

Write your own review!

Facts are true statements that can be proven. Example: The earth is round.

Opinions are beliefs that cannot be proven. Example: Sunflowers are the best flower.

People may have different opinions about one subject.

Look at the following statements. Mark those that are facts with an F, and those that are opinions with an O.
________ 1. The composer of The Barber of Seville is Gioachino Rossini.

________ 2. Figaro is a funny guy.

________ 3. Bartolo is a grumpy old man.

________ 4. Bartolo is a doctor.

________ 5. Count Almaviva wants to meet Rosina.

________ 6. The Barber of Seville takes place in Seville, Spain.

________ 7. Seville is a beautiful city.

________ 8. Almaviva and Rosina make a good couple.

________ 9. A storm takes place during the opera.

________ 10. Count Almaviva uses disguises to meet Rosina.

Adapted from activities developed by the Opera Company of Philadelphia

Read the questions on this page and think about your answers. Write your thoughts on paper or discuss your answers to the questions with a partner.

  • Almaviva does not tell Rosina he is a Count until the very end of the opera.

Why doesn’t Almaviva want Rosina to know he is a Count? Are there secrets that are okay to keep? If so, what are some?

  • Figaro is a talented barber and jack-of-all-trades.

If you could suddenly give yourself any talent, what would it be?

  • Don Basilio enjoys spreading rumors about others, even though they hurt people’s feelings.

Why do you think people spread rumors about others? If you heard a rumor you knew was not true, would you correct it?

  • Figaro is a loyal friend who will do just about anything to help Almaviva.

Have you ever helped a friend or family member accomplish something?

  • Rosina does not like living with Dr. Bartolo, but she feels she must keep her feelings hidden from him.

Do you speak out easily? Have you ever been afraid to speak out? Explain why you felt this way.

  • At the end of the opera, Almaviva and Rosina’s wish to be together comes true.

Do all wishes come true? Have you ever had a wish come true? What do you wish for?
Set designers follow careful steps to make decisions about what the set will look like.
Many questions must be answered before designing ever begins. Try using the following steps to create your own set.
1. Choose a story. You may write one yourself or choose your favorite.

Ask yourself

What are the characters like?

What is the mood of the story? Is it a happy or sad story?
2. Determine where the story takes place.

Ask yourself

What is the year?

What is the season?

What does the environment look like? Is it hot or cold there?

Is it mountainous or flat? Is there a body of water nearby?

3. Describe the scenes of the story.

Ask yourself

How many scenes are there?

Are the scenes indoors or outdoors?

What time of day do they take place?

Now you are ready to begin creating. Using all the information you have gathered, make decisions about how your set will look. Gather objects and decorating supplies and go to work!

You might want to use a shoebox, a crate, an old shoe, empty cans, or other household items to create your set. Decorate with beads, buttons, cut outs, fabric, yarn, ribbon, or anything you wish. You can even add characters and costumes using left-over materials!


Look at a map of Europe. Rossini moved from Pesaro, Italy to Paris, France.


About how many miles did Rossini travel? How do you think he got from Italy to France?


Postcards are a quick way to present a snapshot and a brief bit of information.


Design a postcard of an outdoor scene from The Barber of Seville. Pretend to be one of the members of the cast, writing to a friend or family member about the events of the day. Make sure one of the events is from the actual story, but other realistic details can be creatively added.


Scrapbooks are collections of pictures, writing, and other items that people put together to remember events and special times in their lives.


Create a scrapbook for one of the characters in The Barber of Seville. Draw old “photographs” and create newspaper articles, letters, or other items that might be found in this character’s scrapbook.


A character profile is a piece of writing that tells about a person’s life. A profile may include information about the person’s family, activities he/she likes to do, and important events in his/her life. It might also include personal facts such as his/her age, height, weight, birth date, and so on.


Create a profile for one of the characters in The Barber of Seville.


In an interview, one person asks questions and another person answers. The person asking questions may ask about the other person’s life, likes and dislikes, and other information, and then writes down the answers.


Pretend you are conducting an interview of a character from The Barber of Seville. What will you ask him or her?

Interview someone who is currently a barber and write a report comparing the two jobs.


Brochures are written to give information about a subject. They sometimes tell about a certain place. Usually they are made from a sheet of paper folded into two or three sections. In addition to written descriptions, brochures often include pictures, diagrams, maps, or other images.


Since The Barber of Seville takes place in Seville, Spain, write a brochure about that city, encouraging the reader to visit.


The local arts council is sponsoring several opera performances for the community. To make opera more accessible to the general public, they are contracting you to translate and recreate the story of the opera into comic book form. It will then be published in the local newspaper.

You will first view the opera and possibly take notes about characters, setting, mood, etc. You will then design and create your comic book. The comic book should include the important aspects of an opera plot, character and setting sketches, and mood.

Costume Designer

Draw a costume for any character in The Barber of Seville. The costume can be traditional, modern or abstract, but you must explain why you made the choices you did.


What product or company do you think should sponsor The Barber of Seville? Write a proposal to the president of the company explaining why you think it would be beneficial for them to give funding to a production of The Barber of Seville. Remember to tell the president what benefits there are for her or his company!

Information Services

If you were to design a website for The Barber of Seville, what would it look like? Who would it reach? Who would be the “audience”?


Create an advertisement for The Barber of Seville. Decide whether you should put it on TV, radio, newspaper, a bus, etc. Include whatever you feel is the biggest “selling point” of the opera-- what makes it exciting? Why should people come to see it?

Study the information on the chart to answer the questions on this page.

Privileges of Support

1 Newsletter 4 Invitation to Gala 7 Dress Rehearsal Passes

2 Early Notice of Events 5 Season Preview 8 Attend Cast Party

3 Name in Program Book 6 Opera Class 9 Attend Rehearsal 10 Opera Travel
1) What is your level of support if you receive seven privileges? _______________
2) How many privileges does a donor in the Benefactor’s Circle receive? ___________
3) An invitation to the gala is the top privilege of which level of support? ______________
4) If you are currently in the Overture Circle, how many more privileges would you receive if you became a member of the Patron Circle?______________________
5) If you want to travel to a famous opera house, what would your level of support have to be?__________
6) Which circle has three more privileges than the Aria Circle?________________
7) Which level of support receives a specially designed set of privileges? _________________

8) What would you want as your privileges if you were a member of this group? ________



Draw four things Figaro does other than barbering:

Comic Book Opera

Criteria to be assessed



Partial Success

Little or No Success

The student demonstrates knowledge of the important aspects of the plot of an opera.

Knowledge of important aspects of plot is fully evident and the following are identified: inciting incident, setting, protagonist, antagonist, conflict, and resolution.

Knowledge of important aspects of plot is sufficiently demonstrated and most of the important plot elements are identified.

Knowledge of plot elements is somewhat limited and few of the important plot elements are identified.

There is little or no evidence of understanding and plot elements are incorrectly identified or missing.

The student demonstrates knowledge of the relationships between characters, setting and mood.

Character and setting sketches are complete and coincide with the personality of the characters and mood of the scenes.

Sketches are complete and basically coincide with the overall mood of the opera.

Sketches are incomplete and leave out important elements of characters, setting or mood.

Sketches are incomplete or missing and great amounts of important information are left out.

The student demonstrates knowledge of the relationships between personality, mood, setting, movement, and color.

Sketches are complete with color that enhances the personality of the characters and the mood of the scenes.

Sketches are colorful and, for the most part, the color helps identify the characters and the mood.

Sketches are colored, but demonstrate little connection to the characters and/or mood.

Sketches have little or no color and the color does not enhance the story.

The student demonstrates the ability to express in writing the process and reasoning used in preparing a visual presentation.

The process and reasoning used in creating the comic book is enthusiastically and thoroughly explained in a letter to the arts council.

The process and reasoning used in creating the comic book is explained in a letter to the art council.

The process and reasoning used in creating the comic book are somewhat addressed in some type of letter.

The process and reasoning used in creating the comic book are inaccurately addressed or not addressed at all in the written explanation.

chorus- an organized group of singers

composer- a person who writes music

conductor- a person who leads a group of musicians

contract- a written agreement to work together

director- a person in charge of casting, directing, and staging an opera

duet- a piece of music for two instruments or two voices

ensemble- the full cast

finale- the last song in a musical performance

librettist- a person who writes the words of an opera

libretto- the words of an opera

overture- an instrumental introduction to the opera or other long musical work

quartet- a piece of music for four instruments or four voices

recitative- sung dialogue in opera

trio- a piece of music for three instruments or three voices

understudy- a person who studies a role in order to replace the regular performer when necessary

Use as many of the vocabulary words listed above as possible to complete the following activities:

  • Marketing

Create an advertisement for The Barber of Seville. Decide whether you should put it on TV, radio, newspaper, a bus, etc. Include whatever you feel is the biggest “selling point” of the opera-- what makes it exciting? Why should people come to see it?

  • Communications

Think of an event that your class will have around the time of your class viewing of The Barber of Seville. Write a press release about the event, including the date, the time, the people involved, and why it would be exciting or fun to attend.

  • Costume Designer

Draw a costume for any character in The Barber of Seville. The costume can be traditional, modern or abstract, but you must explain why you made the choices you did.

  • Development

What product or company do you think should sponsor The Barber of Seville? Write a proposal to the president of the company explaining why you think it would be beneficial for them to give funding to a production of The Barber of Seville. Remember to tell the president what benefits there are for her or his company!

  • General Director

If you were running a company, which aspect do you think would be more important to you, spending money on artistic expenses or maintaining a balanced budget? Do you think one outweighs the other? Write a statement of your philosophy as if you were the General Director and had been asked how you make your decisions.

  • Information Services

If you were to design a website for The Barber of Seville, what would it look like? Who would it reach? Who would be the “audience”?

  • Set and Lighting Design

Think of a different setting that you could have for The Barber of Seville. Are there any themes in The Barber of Seville that would work in a different time period? Describe the set and the tone of the lighting - is it a happy atmosphere or a sad one? Where is your production set? When? What is the weather like? What set and lighting elements tell the audience about the physical world of the opera?

Story Diagram




Events leading to resolution


Opera Ha-Ha ... cd_021021/

Here is a fun interactive site that students can explore to learn more about the opera. There is a trivia game that asks many questions from easy to hard. There are also many opera crafts to print out and make.

Boston Lyric Opera /Opera New England
Opera Lyra Ottawa

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