There are a variety of ways to look at opera:
1. As an entertainment medium like movies, television and Broadway shows.
2. As a social environment for the upper classes--both financial and intellectual
3. As an art form
4. As a place to go hear great singing.
5. As theater with singing.
6, I'm sure the list could be longer.
My son puts item 2 at the top. He thinks a lot that goes on at the opera is strictly to separate you from the ruling class.
I just go there for fun, so I like a lot going on. Item four is always tops with me, followed closely by item 1. The Ghosts of Versailles is more fun than Tristan and Isolde. Though I find myself suddenly entertained.
1 hour ago