ERIC Number: ED213630
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Dec-29
Using Opera in the Social Studies Classroom: The Child in Opera.
Reel, J. V., Jr.
This paper discusses how to use opera in secondary and college courses to illustrate and clarify historical developments. For example, opera can be used in social history courses to help students understand changing social attitudes toward the child in the 19th and 20th centuries. Students are first required to read a basic work on the history of the child to learn about public attitude change of this period, particularly as it affects education. The teacher can also use lecture and discussion to draw attention to the two differing theories of child education of this era. Students are then required to examine operas to see how and by whom the child is portrayed on the opera stage. They also examine operas recommended for children to see or hear. The opera of this period affords a demonstration of the change from little, if any, public concern for the child to a society in which the child plays a considerable role. Specific illustrations are provided in the paper. For example, just as there was a broadening interest in children's education in the middle years of the 19th century, so the role of the child on stage increased. First, the children's chorus appeared in operas such as Lortzing's "The Poacher." Meyerbeer's "Prophet" contains a cathedral choir-school chorus. Thereafter, children's choruses are frequently found. From the last decade of the 19th century into the middle of the 20th century the state became increasingly involved in all aspects of the child's life. It was at this time the composers began to write full scale operas such as "Hansel and Gretel" designed for children to see. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association (Los Angeles, CA, December 29, 1981).