The character Escamillo sings the toreador song from Bizet's opera 'Carmen'. The performance is from a grand production on stage in an opera house accompanied by a full orchestra, cast and chorus. The French libretto is translated into English appearing as captions at the bottom of the screen as the character sings the gory story of the bullfight and is joined by the chorus in what is perhaps the most famous of all operatic arias.
This clip could be used as an introduction to the aria and its role within an opera. Students could discuss: What kind of mood does this aria create? What function does it perform within the opera? In what ways does it express the character of the bullfighter through the music, rhythm and lyrics?
Students should select a simple myth or folk story as a basis for composition. In groups they should each take responsibility for a character in the story. They may also include a narrator. This exercise could lead to the class creating their own mini operas, using aria, recitative and chorus numbers.