Second Nature

October 17. 2015

Upcoming Dates

October 17. 2015

Second Nature


Set in a fictional future when humans have retreated from nature because of the deteriorating environment, Second Nature tells the story of two inquisitive and courageous youths who decide to leave the safety of their artificial habitat and work to heal the planet.

  • Language: In English
  • Running Time: 45 minutes

The story

Elder Constance has decided there is no hope for repairing our planet and forbids anyone to have contact with the outside world. She shares her plan with Elizabeth and David. Jake (Elizabeth’s son) and Lydia (David’s daughter), overhear the adults’ conversation and are sad to learn they can never leave the Habitat.

While discussing the bad news, Jake and Lydia are surprised by a talking ape— a bonobo! Bonobo tells the children how wonderful the world once was before humans neglected nature.

Elder Constance catches Jake and Lydia talking to Bonobo and tells their parents. Elizabeth and David scold their children and tell them how they were forced to build the Habitat to protect their families. Jake and Lydia begin to dream of what the natural world might be like.

Later, Bonobo tells Lydia and Jake of a tree he has kept hidden. He offers a piece of fruit from the tree to them. Lydia takes a bite and is overjoyed by how great real food tastes. She convinces Jake to take a bite, too. The children wonder whether they could leave the Habitat in search of other real food. Bonobo reminds them that leaving is forbidden, but then he suggests they use the trash chute to sneak out.

Elder Constance suddenly appears, catching Lydia and Jake with the forbidden fruit. She decides to punish the children by making them stay in their homes for an entire year. But Elizabeth and David defy Elder Constance and let their kids go free. When they open the gates, Elder Constance feels the fresh air and is reminded of how wonderful nature can be, as Lydia and Jake begin their journey into the world waiting outside.

Meet the artists

* Lyric debut

In partnership with

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 GledhillGoldman SachsMr. and Mrs. Eric L. HirschfieldKenneth R. Norgan, the Donna Van Eekeren FoundationMarilyn D. Ezri, M.D., the Walter Family Foundation, and Wintrust Community Banks.

Photo: Todd Rosenberg