Teacher Resources for Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt

Welcome to Lyric Unlimited's 2018/19 Opera in the Neighborhoods presentation of Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt. We want to thank you for introducing students to the wonderful art form of opera. This website is dedicated to helping you and your students get the most out of your experience.

Here you will find a variety of resources to prepare students for the performance and to extend student learning in the classroom. We recommend taking time to review these resources before your field trip. As is true with any opera, knowing the story and what to expect makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

It is our sincere hope you enjoy the performance, and we look forward to seeing you and your students at the opera!

Opera Overview

This GoogleSlides presentation covers essential information your students need to know about the opera. For best results, please view the Opera Overview full screen.

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Teacher Guide

Information and activities to help you prepare students for the performance.

Opera in the Neighborhoods - Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Student Backstage Pass!

Share this guide with your students to enhance their understanding of opera, paleontology, and Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt.

Opera in the Neighborhoods - Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Musical Highlights

Recurring Musical Motifs
Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt features many musical motifs - or short, recurring musical ideas - that relate to the action of the opera, or the words being sung or spoken. Below are three of the most common motifs that occur throughout Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt.

Note: The Opera in the Neighborhoods version of the opera features Flute, Clarinet, and Piano. The music played by stringed instruments in the following examples will be played by the piano.

Motif #1 - "Traveling"

This music underscores a lot of the movement in the opera, whether it is from one scene to the next or one location on stage to another.

Motif #2 - "Imagination"

At first, this music is associated with Rhoda's grandfather, or "Toppy," but later it is associated with moments of imagination and creativity.

Motif #3 - "Thinking"

The falling notes (beginning at 0:20) often accompany times in the opera when characters have to think and search for the answers to their questions.

Listening Example

Below is a short example an instrumental interlude that happens as Rhoda searches for the missing fossils.

Listen carefully throughout the opera, and you'll hear even more repeated musical motifs!

Scientific Inference Waltz
Libretto Text
Sung by Dr. Osborn and Rhoda

Rhoda finds her way to the Maniraptor exhibit where Dr. Osborn is contemplating the fossils. They realize the talons of Deinocheirus are similar to Maniraptor. Using scientific inference, they infer they are from the same family tree.

Things to listen for:

"I don't want him to be disappointed in me."
Libretto Text
Sung by Rhoda

Rhoda, unsure of herself, sings a “panic aria” about not wanting to disappoint anyone. All of the action in the opera has led up to this moment when Rhoda tries to figure out what to do next.

Things to listen for:

Finale: "Deinocheirus with your great big claws..."
Libretto Text
Sung by Rhoda, Dr. Osborn, and Toppy

Rhoda shows the completed diagram to Toppy and he is able to complete his painting. Dr. Osborn’s paleontologists also just found a complete skeleton that looks a lot like Rhoda's diagram.

Everyone celebrates by going out for a chocolate chip sundae!

Things to listen for:

Music from Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt is provided through generous arrangement with On Site Opera.

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Production Videos

Video 1: The Story of Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt
Length: 2:29
Description: Librettist/Stage Director Eric Einhorn introduces the story of the opera.

Video 2: Meet the Designers
Length: 3:34
Description: Stage Director/Librettist Eric Einhorn, Set Designer Arnel Sancianco, Costume Designer Summer Lee Jack, and Puppet Designer & Fabricator Brandon Kirkham discuss bringing the visual world of Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt to life.

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