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Not many Soviet submarine officers go on to become professors of music at American universities, but that is exactly what what University professor David Finko has on his resume. And Finko, who is an adjunct associate professor of music at the University, will break into the world of Mozart and Wagner Saturday, when three of his one-act operas will be performed by the Delaware Valley Opera Company, this Saturday at the Hermitage Mansion at 8:00 p.m. Finko, who was born in Leningrad, is also a Professor and Conductor-in-residence at the Combs College of Music. After leaving the Soviet Navy, Finko said he returned to his first love, music, and attended the Leningrad Conservatory. Finally, in 1979, he emigrated to the United States in search of religious and artistic freedom. Saturday' performance will consist of three operas, Polinka, Klezmers, and That Song. Polinka is based on Anton Chekov's story of the same name. It involves a love triangle and discusses the topic Finko refers to as "male psychological trauma." "Opera is like heaven in that it is a beautiful genre of music art," Finko said. "However, it is also damnation because it is expensive to produce. So far I am lucky." Klezmers takes place in a Jewish settlement in 19th century Russia. In this tragi-comedy, Finko tells the story of a dying klezmer band leader who relates the story of his life and then attempts to make peace with his wife and children. Lastly, in That Song, Finko tells the story of a female double agent who recalls events that happened to her during World War II including when she fell in love with a captured Russian pilot. She told him to endure the pain and torture subjected by the Nazis in order to save her identity, and now, as a grandmother, she feels guilty for her actions. Finko said he is pleased to have the chance to display his works to a new audience. "This is my first American opera company," Finko said. "I am grateful for the chance to work with such wonderful people and wonderful singers." But Finko was quick to point to the challenges involved in performing the ancient art form. "The operas have been written to require a smaller orchestra, and, therefore, save money," Finko said. "However, because there are three different stories, this requires three different sets and costumes and is, therefore, a lot of trouble." Finko said that in addition to writing the material, he is also responsible for conducting the performers. "There is a lot of excitement and nervous tension," he said. "But things will be well for Saturday." Jim Wiest, President of the Delaware Valley Opera Company, said he is "really looking forward to the performance," and that he expects many others to want to see it as well. "This is the first performance outside the Soviet Union of these operas," said Wiest. "We anticipate a very large audience." Wiest described Finko's work as "contemporary," adding that while this type of opera is not frequently performed by the company, they are excited by the challenge. "These type of operas are very valuable, and athough they are new for us, we are proud to do it," Finko said. "They are very important, and we anticipate a good, smooth performance Saturday."

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