Lesson Plan - Get It!
Q: Why are opera singers good sailors?
A: Because they can handle the high C’s!
The riddle is silly because sailors handle the seas and oceans, but opera singers have to handle singing really high notes!
Listen to opera singer Audrey Luna sing the highest note ever sung at the New York Metropolitan Opera, courtesy of CBC Radio:
- Are you ready to try hitting that note?
- Have you ever been to a play or watched a movie?
- What if all the actors sang their lines instead of speaking them?
An opera is like a play, only instead of talking, the actors and actresses sing their lines! An opera is different from a musical. In a musical, the characters speak their lines, and they also sing songs. In an opera, no speaking is allowed. Only singing!
In the 1500s, it was common to perform plays at court for the king and queen and their guests. Some of these plays were quite serious. In order to keep the guests from getting bored, the performers would perform short musical entertainments, called intermezzos, between acts.
Some of the guests preferred the intermezzos to the plays, so more and more composers began writing intermezzos to be performed by themselves. Eventually, they simply performed the plays to music, and the opera was born!
Listen to a clip from the opera, Little Red Riding Hood. As you watch, think about these questions:
- Who is your favorite character?
- Would you enjoy watching this opera in a live theater?
Children's opera "Little Red Riding Hood" by Seymour Barab, BCOpera, posted by Katerina Souvorova:
Some people think opera singers are ladies who sing really high notes, but that’s not entirely true. All different voice types are needed to perform an opera. Watch An introduction to opera's voice types (The Royal Opera) below to learn about the different voice types in opera singing. As you listen, think about these questions:
- What voice part do you think you'd like to sing?
- What voice parts do you think your mom or dad might sing?
Continue to the Got It? section to learn about an American opera singer who pushed past some difficult obstacles to become one of the most sought-after opera singers in the world!