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BPO's Mekinulov will solo with 'Bolero'

Roman Mekinulov, the principal cellist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, is always in the spotlight. He is just to the right of the conductor, at the front of the cello section. This weekend, though, Mekinulov will move over a few feet and actually take center stage, as soloist.

He will be performing the Cello Concerto No. 1 of the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saens. This is a demanding whirlwind of a piece, all in one movement, requiring virtuosity and stamina. It's full of passion and tumult, not to mention the kind of melody for which Saint-Saens was famous. Mekinulov should make it memorable.

The concerto is the centerpiece of a colorful French-themed concert and culminates in one of the greatest classical hits of all time, Ravel's "Bolero." Music Director JoAnn Falletta conducts, and it should be quite the dramatic event. Also included is "Iberia," from "Images" of Claude Debussy. The concert opens with the Pelléas et Mélisande Suite of Gabriel Faure. Faure was the first composer to write music for the Maeterlinck play, which would later inspire the opera by Debussy.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra: 10:30 a.m. Jan. 12 and 8 p.m. Jan. 13 at Kleinhans Music Hall.  Tickets are $29-$84. Call 885-5000.



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