Appreciating Art Critically
牛津高中英语教材模块八，整本书都是围绕着艺术这一主题展开的。第一单元主要是围绕文学艺术鉴赏展开教学，在教学过程中，将焦点集中在对文学艺术鉴赏方法，步骤，思想的探讨，以及经典的故事及其背后的文化背景的批判性思考上；第二单元主要围绕音乐艺术鉴赏展开教学。这一单元主要讨论了音乐的不同风格，音乐鉴赏的方法，步骤，音乐体现出的思想，以及音乐表现的故事性及其背后文化背景的批判性思考上。 通过对比，我们发现，无论是对文学艺术欣赏还是音乐艺术欣赏，他们之间都有着极为相似的鉴赏方式，并且他们可以通过歌剧，或戏剧的形式整合到一起，达到更加完整的欣赏效果。 第二单元的歌剧《图兰朵》恰好是一个融音乐，表演与文学于一体的艺术表现形式。同时它也是中西方文化相融合的一个典型代表。它通过普契尼——一个西方歌剧大师之眼，来看东方文化。它将故事背景设置在明代中国紫禁城，讲述一个中国公主招亲的故事。虽然歌剧中处处有中国元素，但是剧作家在剧中凸显的却是西方对自由和平等的追求，而忽略了当时历史条件下，中国的现实文化差异。所以《图兰朵》实际上是剧作家对东方文化的遐想，剧中体现了普契尼对中国文化的理解偏差或误解。
Step 1 Lead-in
Ask Ss two simple questions and then show them some pictures and have them identify forms of art.
Q1: Recently we’ve talked a lot about art, so can you identify the forms of art in the following pictures?
Q2:Which form is your favorite?
Introduce the topic, opera, by having students recall what they’ve learned about Turandot.
Step 2 Performance and appreciation
Activity performance of a drama and music
1 Have all the participants introduce their own roles and musical instruments in the drama.
2 Then put the drama on, accompanied by some music played live by a group of students.
While the students are appreciating the drama, it is recommended that they read the lines with the handouts given out.
Step 3 Discussion and critical thinking
Activity Group Discussion
Have a discussion in four groups and divide them into groups named Art of Performing, Art of Music, and Art of Literature and Participant Group. While discussing, students are expected to take the useful lexical chunks and the sample writing for reference.
Art of Literature:
1. Are you fond of the new ending and the lines in the drama?
2. If you were the playwright, how would you end the story? Why?
3. Is it possible to add something else to the drama, such as a poem? Can you have a try?
Art of Performing:
1. Are you happy with their performances?
2. Which character is the most impressive? Why?
3. Make some comments on the performances of the drama.
Art of Music:
1. Are you familiar with the music? (Tell its name if you can.)
2. What can you feel from the music?
3. Does it match the theme of the drama? Or can you recommend some other music?
Lexical chunks for reference
from where I stand; as far as I’m concerned; from my point of view; personally; on my personal note; in my opinion; I believe; I bet; I insist; I feel; I admit… …
well-done; impressive; wonderful; splendid; gorgeous; remarkable; puzzled; confused; eye-catching; thought-provoking; insightful; awful; … …
sad; desperate; be thirsty for love; passionate; pleased; overjoyed; voluntary; reluctant; tragic; comforting; shocked; frightened; gentle; tense… …
naïve; loyal; faithful; selfless; self-centered; self-willed; pride; rude; selfish; indifferent; calculated; ambitious; brave; intelligent; civil; be devoted/addicted to the pursuit of power; be bent on doing… …
prefer; like/dislike; agree/disagree; in agreement/disagreement with; for/against; be fond of; don’t care; positive; negative… …
powerful; have a relaxed feel; hold a mirror up to sb/sth; be attracted by; be drawn into; be crazy about; vivid; match; go perfectly with… …
A sample commentary on an opera Aida
Tonight, I went to see the famous Italian opera Aida at the opera house. It was crowded but I was lucky enough to get a great seat. I could not believe my ears when I heard the beautiful music. All the performers had such powerful voices that they touched the softest place in my soul. The music went perfectly with the performances. With the development of the story, the music sometimes sounded passionate; sometimes sad; sometimes gentle; sometimes tense. I even felt my breath in and out with it.
The opera tells the story of Aida, an Ethiopian princess who is taken away to Egypt to work as a slave. Her angry father comes to save her with an army and fights against the Egyptian army, which is led by Radames. Radames, who loves Aida, betrays the Egyptian king because he wants to help Aida to escape.
I don't really like stories about love and I certainly did not cry at the end! However, I must admit that I am fond of the actress, who played the role as Aida. Her performance was vivid and full of passion. When she showed her love the Radames, she expressed her emotion through every detail of her body language. Besides, I was a little frightened when the fireworks were set off during the battle scenes. Most of all, I loved the set. I thought I was in Egypt. I could not believe it when I saw the elephants and horses on stage!
Step 4 Opinion sharing
Activity Some participants from the Participant Group share their intention and feelings of giving such a performance.
The playwright will share her writing intention.
The director will share how she organizes the performance and her feelings.
The violin player will share his understanding of the music.
The actor and the actress also share their understanding of the role they play
Step 5 Conclusion
The teacher will draw a conclusion in the following aspects:
1. Art is a universal language, which can bridge western and eastern culture.
2. As Chinese students, it is our duty to promote our cultural essence to the world, and to have people around the globe understand us better.
3. The process of appreciating art can be an enjoyable but challenging one, which needs persistence.
4. Art is a noble way to enrich our life.
Step 5 Homework
Appreciating Art Critically