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A Storytelling Opera-tunity: Exploring Nessun Dorma for Kids!

Enjoy an activity to dive into the wonderful, exciting world of opera with your child from the comfort of your own home!At Home Play Tips - Theater - Sponsored by M&T Bank

Hi, fans of play! As you look into more ways to have music time at home, why not explore opera? Opera is a form of storytelling, but the story is told by singing instead of talking. Pretty cool, right? If your little one likes stories about adventure, heroes and princesses, pirate ships, monsters, and funny moments of people pretending to be other people, opera is for you!

Tip 1: Why Opera and Music Are Important for Kids of All Ages!

The benefits of listening to, playing, dancing to, and practicing music are ENDLESS! Playing and dancing to music help develop children’s gross and fine motor skills, sense of rhythm (which plays into mathematical and logical reasoning development, too!), athleticism, literacy, and socio-emotional learning. Music also provides avenues for exploration of identity, discipline and focus, and feeling confidence and accomplishment. In particular, opera, as a form of classical music and storytelling, can help your child with their literacy skills by following along with the stories and characters and even learning words in new languages! Plus, opera has plenty of opportunities for us to safely explore deeper human emotions. Lastly, often children experience a sense of wonder if they have never heard operatically trained voices before!

Tip 2: Talking Points for Learning!

Two big words you’ll want to talk about: opera, which is a form of telling a story but told by singing instead of talking; and aria, which is a section of an opera where a character gets to sing alone and explore their feelings about something happening to or around them.

Today’s aria we’ll be exploring is called Nessun Dorma! Nessun Dorma is one of opera’s most famous arias! It is in Italian, and the title roughly translates to “no one shall sleep.” Before listening to the aria, talk with your child about what they think that might mean. When can’t you sleep? What might be happening to someone to cause them not to be able to sleep?

Finally, talk with your child about the way we use our voices! When we’re really happy, what does our voice sound like? How about angry, sad, excited? When does our voice go up, and when does it go down? When does it get loud, and when does it get quiet? Use all of these ideas and thoughts to try to figure out how the singer might be feeling!

Tip 3: Play Activities!

For today’s play activities, we have one parallel play art activity and one dramatic play activity!

Parallel Play: Art!

Step 1: Gather some paper and art supplies! It can be markers, crayons, colored pencils - whatever you like to use best!

Step 2: Pull up this YouTube link: This singer will be singing Nessun Dorma with an orchestra, or a group of musicians all playing many different instruments often used in classical music!

Step 3: Play the video (only about 3 minutes long!) and draw along with the music! You can draw about what you’re feeling, what you think might be happening, or anything else! Let your little learner’s creative mind wander - and yours, too!

Step 4: Compare your drawings! Once you have discussed what you think might have been happening in the aria, you can read about the opera it’s from and what the character is saying here!: (Quick tip: You may want to read through this first before sharing it with your learner! Though the aria’s translation itself is appropriate, the overall synopsis has some darker moments.) Also, we would LOVE to see your drawings! Tag us @portdiscovery with the hashtag #PlayAtHome!

Dramatic Play: Dancing and Acting!

Now that you’ve finished your drawings, you can play the video again and encourage your little one to dance, or set the scene! How will you dress as the prince? Or, will you create your own hero costume? What will you do with your body to express the feelings in the aria? Will you use any props or set pieces to show where he is? The possibilities are endless!


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