PORTopera’s Young Artists Program will present the first-ever performance of the opera “Café Vienna” by American composer Richard Pearson Thomas. The performances will take place on five dates in five different locations across Maine between June 24 and July 15. The Young Artists Program premieres “Café Vienna” Friday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rines Auditorium of Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square.

PORTopera Young Artists are selected through national auditions and are rising young singers on the cusps of major operatic careers. Included in the “Café Vienna” cast is Belfast’s Jesse Wakeman, a tenor who is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Southern Maine and is studying voice privately with Bruce Fithian. Wakeman recently appeared as Ralph Rackstraw in USM’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.” He also performed in USM’s 2010 Honors recital.

Set in a Vienna coffee house circa 1907, “Café Vienna” tells the story of the intersecting lives of four of the shop’s patrons in the city they love. Alternating between their real-life interactions and their inner thoughts, between love and lust, the opera follows the intricacies of relationships lasting a day and a lifetime. Through their introspection and interactions, the audience learns each one’s deepest secret.

Thomas’ composition is charmingly melodic, and the story is whimsical, amusing, and tuneful; it truly embraces the spirit of romantic, idealistic Vienna. “Café Vienna” is presented under the direction of the new Young Artists program director Mary Duncan; and PORTopera’s music director Steven Morris.

For tickets for the Portland performance, call 842-0800 or visit porttix.com. “Café Vienna” also will be presented Sunday, June 26 in the University of Maine at Augusta’s Jewett Hall at 2 p.m. (pre-concert take with Morris 1 p.m.), for tickets call 621-3551; Tuesday, June 28 at Fryeburg Academy’s Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. (935-9232 or boxoffice@fryeburgacademy.org); Sunday, July 10 at The Temple in Old Orchard Beach (934-9068); and Friday, July 15 as part of the Lillian Nordica Centennial in Merrill Hall’s Nordica Auditorium at the University of Maine at Farmington (Everyday Music or at the door).

To ensure ticket availability, advance purchase is recommended.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.