Giuseppe Verdi Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your students about opera composer Giuseppe Verdi with this lesson plan. Students will study a text lesson, take a related follow-up quiz, and participate in an activity that will help reinforce key learning.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Explain the political reason why Verdi was such a hero to the Italian people
  • Name some of the famous works written by Verdi
  • Recount some details of the personal life of the legend


2 hours split up into two consecutive class periods


Key Vocabulary

  • La Scala
  • Opera
  • Parlando
  • Parma, Italy
  • 'Triumphal March'
  • United Italy

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


  • Inform your students they will be studying opera composer Giuseppe Verdi.
  • Display an image of Verdi.
  • Ask them if anyone has heard of Verdi or is familiar with any of his works.
  • Review the vocabulary terms.
  • Hand out copies of the text lesson Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi: Biography, Operas & Facts, one per student.
  • Have your students listen to the 'Grand March' from Aida while you are speaking. It is readily available online at no charge and is under six minutes in length.
  • Read the introduction and first section 'Setting the Stage.'
    • In what year was Verdi born?
    • Where did opera develop? When?
    • What Italian city had six opera theaters around the year 1700?
    • How many operas did Verdi compose?
    • Near what city was Verdi born?
    • What instrument did he play?
    • Who was instrumental in launching his career?
    • What was his first opera? When did it debut? Where?
    • What personal tragedies did he endure?
    • What happened to his second production? His third?
  • Next, read the section 'Viva V.E.R.d.I.'
    • What real political events were going on when Nabucco was in production?
    • Why were the people so emotionally invested in Verdi's opera?
    • What happened to Italy in 1861?
    • How many earlier operas did Verdi produce in about a ten-year span?
    • What is parlando? How did it differ from traditional operas?
    • Can you name some of his early operas?
  • Now, read the section 'Mature Operas.'
    • How many later operas did Verdi compose in about a thirty-eight year period?
    • What was his famous opera Aida about?
  • Now, read the section 'Verdi and Shakespeare.'
    • Can you name some of his later operas?
  • Ask your students what they thought of the 'Grand March' from Aida that you played for them.
  • Lastly, read the section 'Lesson Summary', review the complete text lesson, and answer any pertinent questions posed by your students.
  • Allow your students to take the lesson quiz to validate their grasp of the material.


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