Attending an opera too daunting of a prospect? Ease in with the U of M’s production of Benjamin Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” debuting tonight, and see how it suits you. The familiar Shakespeare story is the backbone of the opera, toying with the line between dream worlds and reality as young lovers and fairy rulers cross paths. You’ll be able to follow the similar plot (just in case, a cheat sheet) as music helps illustrate each setting in lieu of Shakespeare’s banter. Fairies are given light, dreamy refrains and accompanied by harps while the lovers’ choruses are sweeping and romantic, full of strings, in this production performed live by the U of M’s own orchestra.

The lush composition is enhanced by powerful voices of students Joe Nelson, Lauren Lammers, Joe O’Kell, Will Bryan, Shelley Mihm, Sidney Walker, and Stephen Cunningham, a deep cast that is necessary to support such a large production.

For a proper introduction to the opera, head to the lobby 45 minutes early for a discussion before every performance. Running time is 2 hours and 45 minutes, with two intermissions. Tickets available in advance. 7:30 p.m. $20. —EK

Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th St. S., Mpls., 612-625-5000, music.umn.edu