The clip below is from a cartoon, “Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers,” that I watched all the time as a kid. The story begins with the characters ending up at an opera by accident, thinking they’re going to a movie.
But happens in this episode is actually kind of interesting as far as pop culture representations of opera go. You get some of the expected moves, such as that Dale assumes that it’s going to be boring, and Gadget points out that “this is an opportunity for us to culturally enrich ourselves!” — i.e. people don’t listen to this for pleasure.
But the episode represents opera as being fun, as in full of sword battles and grand entrances, which is kind of true. And it’s in English, which is interesting. No one has any trouble understanding the plot. And there is no sense that our ‘everyperson’ characters are out of place or that they should be dressed up, or that opera-going is a snooty thing to do.
In a Disney cartoon I would half expect the ‘opera’ to be a reference to some real one. This one isn’t, as far as I can tell. You do get some emphasis on the fact that this is a ‘live’ performance — the soprano makes an obvious mistake at one point, and the sword fighting turns ‘real’ for a minute or two when one of the characters loses his trousers. Later on, if I remember correctly, the episode turns into a kind of extended riff on The Phantom of the Opera, with the phantom represented by a pretentious sewer alligator.
So, anyway. Cartoon opera! With anthropomorphic rodents!