08/28/2012 03:39 pm ET Updated Oct 28, 2012

Arias for the Opera Virgin

Opera can seem intimidating to some. Then again, anything unfamiliar can sometimes be off-putting. At one point in life, tying shoelaces probably appeared to be highly complex -- an impossible feat, even -- but now it's something you find natural and even indispensable. Many people have a similar experience with opera.

To take listeners through those seemingly difficult first steps, here's a playlist of good introductory excerpts for those new to opera. There's a wide range here, spanning the gamut from soothing to catchy and covering different styles. There's something for everyone, and some you're sure to recognize. Have a listen!