I was asked to go to an opera that's coming up, but ever since I said yes, I've been going through ways I can get out of it. I've never been to an opera and I'm afraid I'll be bored to death. I can't even stay awake through an action movie. How am I going to make it through an opera that's almost 3 hours long?!?
Also, I get that they have the words on the screen above the stage to tell you what's going on, but won't I just be reading and not watching the singers? It just makes me worry that this will be one of those moments where I'm beating myself up for saying yes. How can I make this an enjoyable experience? Are there tricks to staying engaged in a long show like this?
If you have no experience with something how can you be afraid it will be boring?
Humor me and forget this is opera. Let's pretend you are going to your first football game. Would you have the same apprehension?
How about a movie you are unfamiliar with? Afraid of being bored?
My first piece of advice is to not dread how you are going to make it through 3 hours of opera. Assuming its boring is a preconceived notion that has no factual basis. Unless you hate music and or theater.
There are no tricks to staying engaged. But my second piece of advice is to focus on what you enjoy about the production. I will concede that your first opera, like any other theater or music program, has a lot of moving parts. The disadvantage of being inexperienced is that you will most likely be overwhelmed by all that is going on. Focus on what you are drawn to. Maybe it's the singing. The dancing. The orchestra. Whatever it is, appreciate that one piece and peel back the onion from there.
For me the magic of opera and classical music is the ability to listen or watch a piece multiple times and find something new each time. Don't confuse being overwhelmed with being bored. There will be something for you.
Go in prepared to listen, watch and be entertained.