Teaching Cleveland
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High School Edition: 9-12

Lesson 30

At the Opera

OBJECTIVES:

To familiarize the students with the type of social activity the upper class of Cleveland would have patronized during the late 1890s.

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS:

TERMS:

Lohengrin, Walter Damrosch, orchestra circle, dress circle, gallery, mezzo-soprano

LESSON FOCUS:

  1. What type of entertainment might the upper class of Cleveland have patronized in the late 1890s?

TEACHING PROCEDURE:

Have the students read the article describing the audience at the performance of "Lohengrin" and answer the following questions for discussion:

  1. Why does the reporter feel that the Damrosch company has been insulted?
  2. Why was it important to the reporter to describe the clothing worn by the spectators at the performance? Look at the drawing of the people who attended the performance.
  3. What does this tell you about the people who patronized the opera?
  4. Why would the reporter list the names of people in attendance?
  5. Was the order in which the people were mentioned in the article important? Why?
  6. Look at the prices listed in the Opera Program. Who could afford to attend the opera?
  7. Who set the standard for dress at the opera?
  8. How do you think a person learned the rules of etiquette for the opera?

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