Story, Character and Musical Expression
Storytelling is a fundamental human need. It helps us understand each other, the world in which we live and a range of complex human emotions. In opera, the combination of words, music and drama tells stories in a powerful and extraordinary way. Literature and characters come to life, as the music expresses emotions in a way that words sometimes cannot.

Through the seamless integration of music, words, theater and design, opera brings stories to life. As students engage in the world of opera, they will discover key storytelling elements: plot, sequence, conflict, theme and setting. They will learn how operatic conventions, such as arias, recitatives and orchestral interludes, move the action forward and reveal the true motivations and intentions behind a character’s actions.

To explore more about storytelling in opera, view these sample lessons:

Operas are full of complex characters. The musical choices a composer makes and the casting of different voice types gives us clues about these characters and helps us to gain a deeper understanding of their emotions, actions and motivations.

To learn more about characters and voice types in opera, view these sample lessons:

Musical Expression
Opera is a unique and thrilling experience, one that transports us to another time and place. To establish the mood and setting, composers make specific musical choices and, together with singers and the orchestra, the action comes to life and the true intentions, motivations and subtext are revealed.

To learn more about musical expression in opera, view these sample lessons:
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Music! Words! Opera!
Create Your Own Opera
Opera is Common Core
Arts Education Resources
Assessment in Opera Learning
Professional Development for Opera Educators
Story, Character and Musical Expression
Careers in Opera: 21st-Century Skills
10 Most Frequently Produced Operas
Preparing for a Performance
Voice Types in Opera
Glossary of Operatic Terms
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