Welcome aboard! The first thing you have to realize about opera is that it's not enjoyed for the story, but for the way it's told. I'm afraid many of the great operas have stories that wouldn't hold any interest if it weren't for the presentation.<P>It took me a while to get to appreciate opera as an audio only experience. It sounded like a lot of people yelling, albeit at a lot of different pitches! There's nothing like a live performance, but a video comes in second, at least in my book. My favorite video opera is the Royal Opera (London) doing "Prince Igor." That opera has a fantastic scene called "The Polovetsian Dances" although I've seen it spelled differently. The melody is "Stranger in Paradise" so it should be a little familiar, and the opera has a decent story.<P>It's also a good idea to listen (or watch if possible) some of the more commercial operatic performances such as "The Three Tenors" or some Andrea Bocceli (spelling again?). For the most part, I wouldn't jump into opera by buying a bunch of opera CDs, though. I'd stick with the popular stuff, or get videos, or attend a performance if possible.<P>Mostly, though, you should just have fun! It will probably grow on you, just like instrumental classical music.
--I know what I like--