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You can't change the opacity of a layer (the folders in the Layers view), just of the elements inside a layer. I'm assuming you mean you have a bitmap of a balloon (a silver, UFO-shaped helium balloon, perhaps?) and want to change that bitmap's opacity on every state.
If it's the same image on every state, it probably would've been better to turn the image into a symbol before duplicating it to200 states. Then you could change the opacity once and all the symbol instances would update.
Assuming it's not a symbol, the best approach would be to switch to the States panel, then click in the far left onion skinning column next to the first state, then scroll down and click that column next to the last state. The contents of all the states should now be visibile, on top of one another. You should be able to select the balloon in all states at once and then change the opacity in the Properties panel.
John, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply, thank you.
I'm familiar with Flash, so I completely understand what you're saying about instances, and I'll definitely use that approach in future if I do decide to persevere with Fireworks. At the moment though, given that I only want to use it for editing and creating animated .gifs, I'm wondering if I might be better off with Flash. Hell, I can't believe I just said that.