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BPO weekend

This weekend is full of excitement as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra swings back into action after its annual winter break.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, the orchestra welcomes back Buffalo native son David Shire, a distinguished Broadway and film composer. Shire, who wrote the music for the Tony-nominated shows "Baby" and "Big," as well as scores for movies ranging from "All the President's Men" to the brand-new "Zodiac," will be the guest of honor at a concert called "Buffalo Legends." Joining him will be such renowned entertainers as sax man Bobby Militello, diva Mary Kate O'Connell and Broadway singer Lynne Wintersteller.

At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the spotlight shoots to another legendary musical figure: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart's birthday is Saturday, so Sunday's concert, conducted by Resident Conductor Robert Franz, is a belated birthday celebration.

A lively, luminous program is planned, including arias from "The Magic Flute," "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Cosi fan Tutte." Soloists include Rebekkah Hilgraves, Daniel Ihaxz, Louima Lilite, Marc Webster, Gwen Detwiler and Quinn Patrick. The centerpiece of the concert is the sublime Sinfonia Concertante in E Flat for Violin and Viola, featuring BPO Assistant Concertmaster Ansgarius Aylward and Principal Violist Valerie Heywood. With its passionate slow movement, this is one of the most heart-rending pieces Mozart wrote. It's rare we get a chance to hear it live.

Admission to either concert is $18 to $70. For information, call 885-5000.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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