Opera is in effect sung theater. Opera, like theater, can be thought-provoking, historical, educational and a reflection of our society. Historically is has been used as a commentary on contemporary life. I would encourage many opera novices to look into the historical context of some of the works in the operatic cannon of over 200 years. While often considered old-fashioned, stuffy or otherwise too long, one’s enjoyment of opera can really be enhanced through understanding the context.