Opera in the Neighborhoods

Lyric Unlimited Logo - Lyric Opera of Chicago

Opera in the Neighborhoods
brings live performances of youth-focused operas to neighborhood venues throughout the Chicago area.

Second Nature - Lyric Opera of ChicagoSecond Nature - Lyric Opera of ChicagoSecond Nature - Lyric Opera of Chicago


Second Nature - Lyric Opera of Chicago

  • By Matthew Aucoin

  • A new, original youth opera commissioned by Lyric Unlimited from the brilliant young composer the Wall Street Journal called "the next Leonard Bernstein." 

  • Set in a future where humans have turned their backs on nature, Second Nature tells the story of two inquisitive and courageous young people who decide to leave the safety of their artificial habitat and work to heal the planet. This entertaining and thought-provoking opera will delight students and inspire further exploration. 

  • For grades 3-6
  • 45 minutes long, plus Q&A with the cast afterwards
  • No admission charge; suggested donation $65 per classroom
  • Tour runs October 19 - November 20
  • Performances at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
  • This season marked the first time Lyric Unlimited has offered field trip busing assistance, and the program has been so popular that funds are already gone for 2015/16. Watch for Bus Scholarships to return in 2016/17—and act quickly!

Major support provided by the Nancy W. Knowles Student and Family Performances fund.  Second Nature and Opera in the Neighborhoods are supported by Lead Sponsor J. Christopher and Anne N. Reyes and cosponsors two Anonymous DonorsJoyce E. ChelbergDover FoundationBrent and Katie Gledhill, Goldman SachsMr. and Mrs. Eric L. HirschfieldKenneth R. Norgan, the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation, Marilyn D. Ezri, M.D.Walter Family Foundation, and Wintrust Community Banks.  

Lyric Unlimited was launched with major catalyst funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and receives major support from the Hurvis Family Foundation.

Photo Credits: Todd Rosenberg

Fall Tour Schedule

Teacher Resources for Second Nature

Welcome to Lyric Unlimited's 2015/16 Opera in the Neighborhoods presentation of Second Nature by Matthew Aucoin. We want to thank you for introducing students to the wonderful art form of opera. This website is dedicated to helping you and your students get the most out of your experience.

Here you will find a variety of resources to prepare students for the performance and to extend student learning in the classroom. Since Second Nature is a new opera, we recommend taking time to review these resources before your field trip. As is true with any opera, knowing the story and what to expect makes the experience that much more enjoyable.


Backstage Pass Cover - Lyric Opera of Chicago                             Second Nature - Lyric Opera of Chicago

Backstage Pass!
Student Guide
Backstage Pass! is the official student study guide and program for Second Nature. Feel free to download and share with students if you have yet to receive hard copies of the Backstage Pass!

Backstage Pass! Teacher Edition
This guide is designed with teachers in mind and specifically coordinates with the information and activities in the student guide and the Backstage Pass! Videos. 

New this year - Backstage Pass! Videos
Go behind the scenes with composer Matthew Aucoin and the cast of Second Nature to learn more about the story, characters, and music of Second Nature. Each video is between 3:30 and 5:30 minutes in length and we suggest viewing them in the following order:

Video 1: The Story of the Opera with Matthew Aucoin
Length: 3:30
Description: Composer and librettist Matthew Aucoin introduces the story of the opera and why the art form is a great fit for this epic tale.

Video 2: 
Meet the Cast Part I
Length: 3:30
Description: Meet the cast and learn about the rehearsal process for Second Nature.

Video 3: 
Meet the Cast Part II
Length: 3:30
Description: Learn more about the cast and their character in the opera.

Video 4: The Music of the Opera

Length: 5:30
Description: Composer Matthew Aucoin explores how the story, characters, and emotions of the opera are represented musically.

Thanks again for your support of our programs and for giving your students the opportunity to experience opera. Enjoy the show!