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How to see an opera
How I did it: I asked two of my girlfriends who'd also expressed interest in seeing an actual, real live, professional opera at some time in their lives if they'd like to schedule a date to see one together. And they said yes! And it just so happened that the L.A. Opera was about to premiere one of the classics of Italian opera: La Traviata. And all three of us are enamored of anything to do with Italy, so . . . we picked a date, I ordered the tickets (they paid me their shares later) and then . . . we went!
Lessons & tips: Check the websites of the opera houses near you, see what performances they have scheduled. Pick the one that sounds most interesting to you--maybe start with a classic. The cheap seats are just fine for a first performance. Dress semi-formal to formal for an evening performance. Suits for men, no tennis shoes. Nice dresses for women--no sundresses or anything like that, no flip flops. Matinees are business casual to semi-formal if you're feeling fancy. And don't worry if you can't understand the language! The L.A. Opera had an electonic monitor above the proscenium that lit up with a basic translation of the words.
Resources: The Internet!
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