I generally like the ...for Dummies books as introductions to a topic. Usually they are set up to keep the facts accessible to those of varying interests and don't take themselves too seriously. Opera for Dummies succeeds well in the first endeavour. They make opera approachable through well-thought-out divisions of opera history from opera culture and the synopses of the operas themselves. I confess I skipped the vast majority of the seventy-five synopses included, knowing that reading them would do me little good in the short term. I did skim those I've seen or intend to see and was relatively satisfied with them. Thanks to the "Astonishing Trivia" of each opera I learned some interesting facts about said operas. Where Opera for Dummies fails is in the levity category. It's one thing to not take the subject too seriously. It's another to make bad jokes at every opportunity (most of which are elbow-painfully-in-ribs puns). Sadly, this misplaced humour means I will not be keeing Opera for Dummies as a reference book.I must add that some key advice is horridly out of date. Hopefully, anyone interested enough in opera to pick up this volume would know that electronic ticketing systems have completely changed the way tickets are purchased. It's a minor difference, but enough, I think, to make it seem to an introvert that buying a ticket is more trouble than it's worth.