The Fresno State Opera Theatre, with its 16 voice students, will perform a world premiere of “The Secret of Luca” at 8 p.m. April 5 and 3 p.m. April 6 in the Wahlberg Recital Hall in the Music Building.

Student performers will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with composer Evan Mack and librettist Joshua McGuire on Friday, March 28, two weeks before the show begins.

The partnership with Mack and McGuire is through the university’s words and music residency. Mack and McGuire will assist students in understanding the relationship of drama, melody and words.

“The Secret of Luca” is a contemporary opera based on Ignazio Silone’s 1950’s novel. The opera depicts a tragic love story in the mid-20th century in which a man named Luca returns home after being wrongfully imprisoned for 40 years. With the townspeople suspicious of him and his dark past, he learns that the woman who he secretly longed for and loved has died. The opera follows Luca through this journey and to an ultimate reunion with his long-lost love.

“The students have been preparing all semester for this opera,” said Dr. Anthony P. Radford, associate professor of Music. “It is very lyrical music so it is very enjoyable to sing.”

This is Radford’s fifth year teaching opera at Fresno State. Recently, three Fresno State Music students competed at the Central California National Association of Teachers of Singing auditions. With nearly 60 students from across the Valley, competitors were judged by singing teachers from colleges, universities and private studios within the region.

Thomas Hayes, a Music Education major from Dinuba, won first place in “Musical Theatre Songs” in the 17-20 age group. Constantine Pappas, a graduating Music Vocal Performance major from Clovis, won first place in “Musical Theatre Songs” in the 21-24 age group. Pappas also won second place in “Classical Songs.” Jenny Ponce, a Music Education major from Visalia, won first place in “Musical Theatre Songs” for ages 25 and up.

“We have wonderful singers in our program and I think the audience will very much enjoy this production, full of mystery, romance, tragedy and hope,” Radford said.

Tickets for the “Secret of Luca” world premiere are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and $5 for students at

For more information, contact Radford at 559.278.7593.

(University Communications news assistants Ashlie Day and Jodi Raley contributed to this report.)

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