WDAV Blog

Playlist: Sinister Scores for Halloween

by Connie Kim

It’s Halloween season! Perfect for a party or an eerie evening of trick-or-treating, our selection of spooky scores from iconic horror films and television will give you the chills.

  1. “Cabrini Green” (Philip Glass, Michael Reisman, The Western Wind) – The Music of Candyman (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
  2. “Main Title” (John Williams) – Jaws (Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  3. “Polymorphia” (Krzysztof Penderecki) – The Exorcist (Original Motion Picture)
  4. “Main Title” (Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind)- The Shining (Original Motion Pictures Soundtrack)
  5. “Flight”(Bernard Herrmann) – Psycho (The Complete Original Motion Picture Score)
  6. “Dance” (Max Lilja) – The Exorcist (Original Radio Play Soundtrack)
  7. “The Car Lot” (Bernard Herrmann) – Psycho (The Complete Original Motion Picture Score)
  8. “The Shark Approaches” (John Williams) – Jaws (The Collector’s Edition Soundtrack)
  9. “The Shadow”(Bernard Herrmann) – Psycho (The Complete Original Motion Picture Score)
  10. “We’re Not the Only Ones Watching” (David Julyan) – The Cabin in the Woods (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  11. “Night of Terror” (Clint Mansell) – Black Swan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  12.  “The Cabin in the Woods” (David Julyan) – The Cabin in the Woods (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  13. The Haunting of Hill House (The Newton Brothers) – The Haunting of Hill House (Music from Netflix Horror Series)
  14. The History of Hill House (Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra) – The Haunting (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  15. “Headless Wizard” (Christopher Young) – Hellbound: Hellraiser II (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  16. “Gassed” (Bobby Krlic) – MidSommar (Original Motion Picture Score)
  17. “Femme Fatale” (Michael Abels) – Us (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  18. “Go Tomorrow” (The Newton Brothers) – The Haunting of Hill House (Music from Netflix Horror Series)
  19. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Johann Sebastian Bach, William McVicker) – Great Organ Classics
  20. “Finale” (Michael Abels) – Us (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  21. “Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga” (Michael Abels) – Get Out (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  22. “Children of the Corn” (Marco Beltrami) – A Quiet Place (Original Soundtrack Album – edited)
  23. “WTF is That” (Michael Abels)- Nope (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  24. “Caleb is Lost” (Mark Korven) – The Witch (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  25. “Filthy Dog”(Mark Korven) – The Lighthouse (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  26. “All Together Now” (Marco Beltrami) – A Quiet Place (Original Soundtrack Album)
  27. “Suspiria”(Goblin) – Suspiria (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Sinister Scores Playlist

     

Meet the Artists From WDAV’s Public Radio Music Day Festivities

Wednesday, October 26, 2022, is the noncommMUSIC Alliance’s third annual Public Radio Music Day, a celebration uniting public radio music stations, artists, and fans to highlight the contributions of public radio to local and national noncommercial music. In honor of the occasion, we’ve invited four outstanding local artists to visit our John Clark Performance Studio for a series of special live performances and interviews throughout the day. Get to know each artist with the handy profiles below!

     


     

WDAV Celebrates Public Radio Music Day

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Public Radio Music Day 2022 – Discovering the Sound of Local Community

10 AM hour: Ethan Uslan, ragtime piano

1 PM: Tanja Bechtler, cello

4 PM: Alan Mearns, classical guitar

7 PM: Quisol, singer-songwriter

Video of each artist’s Public Radio Music Day performance and interview will be released on our Facebook and YouTube pages.

     


     

Ethan Uslan

Ethan Uslan

Tell us about what you do!

I’m a pianist who specializes in ragtime and early jazz. By early jazz, I mean jazz music from the 1920s and 30s, which includes New Orleans jazz, Harlem stride piano, and stuff like that. I perform mostly locally but I’ve gotten around a bit and have given some concerts in exotic places like Dublin, Ireland; Lugano, Switzerland; Nancy, France; and Gastonia, NC. 🙂 Most recently I appeared on AMC as Count Lestat’s hand double on Episode 3 of “Interview with a Vampire.”

In your view, what makes classical music on public radio important to the cultural life of our region? 

Classical music is a lifelong and life-enriching thing and the more people are exposed to it, the better. WDAV gives people an opportunity to hear, learn about, and get into classical music FOR FREE. I have been listening to classical music most of my life, yet still, through listening to WDAV, I discover pieces and composers that I hadn’t previously been familiar with. So just imagine how much young people or classical music “newbies” can get out of WDAV. It really can open a whole new world for people.

Describe your connection(s) to WDAV Classical Public Radio. 

I listen to WDAV mostly in the car. I moved to Charlotte in 2004. You know how many hours I have spent in the car since 2004? Too many. Thank god for WDAV.  

Where can our listeners find you online? 

YouTube | UslanMusic.com | Facebook | The Carolina Shout Podcast

Video: “The Swan” in Ragtime
     


     

Tanja Bechtler

Tanja Bechtler

Tell us about what you do! 

I created the Bechtler Ensemble, that presents interdisciplinary programs that connect art, poetry, and dance to music. There are so many different types of occasions that people need music for and I love figuring out what would be the best fit for a particular occasion or exhibition.

I am passionate about the Youth movement HORA Trance Sport, that is a cutting edge technology for the body, nervous system and intellect. On my website, bechtlerensemble.com, you can find out more information about our programs.

In your view, what makes classical music on public radio important to the cultural life of our region?  

Classical music with WDAV let’s me have a glimpse into the flavor of other countries from the past to the present. I get to take a break from thinking to purely listening and I love that. Knowing about other cultures enriches my world and opens up new doors to different life styles hence the world becomes a more interesting place to live in.

Describe your connection(s) to WDAV Classical Public Radio. 

WDAV Classical Public Radio let’s me enjoy the moment however long or short that may be. I like the diverse programming and the information that they share. When I drive, or when I cook I can always count on WDAV for an interesting program and beautiful music. They are an amazing team and I thank you all for creating such diverse programming across the globe.

     


     

Alan Mearns

Tell us about what you do!

I’m originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland. I moved to Boone, NC at age 17 and began studying with Dr Douglas James at Appalachian State University where I was the first guitarist to win the Fletcher Scholarship (a full ride.) I did my graduate work with the eminent English virtuoso Stanley Yates at Austin Peay in TN.

I moved back to North Carolina and started a rock band called Airspace which eventually broke up. But we recorded an album with the now famous Rick Beato, whose YouTube channel “Everything music” now has more than 3 million subscribers. After the band broke up, Rick produced my first solo songwriting project called “Yes the Raven”.

Rick made a video about my songs and classical arrangements that has nearly half a million views. This has launched my career launched my career into a more active trajectory.

I have been performing and teaching music in North Carolina for 17 years. I have taught at the nonprofit “Hickory Music Factory” since its inception. It provides scholarships to low income students that enables them to take music lessons and is connected with the community in a similar fashion to John Tosco.

Right now I’m doing recitals in DC, New York City, Rochester, and recently finished teaching masterclasses at Yale.

In your view, what makes classical music on public radio important to the cultural life of our region?  

The classical music Radio station is a part of my family’s life. It’s always on in the car. My daughter had it on in her bedroom growing up 24/7 literally day and night as a kind of soundtrack for her imagination. My son and I play games of “guess the composer” when we start the car. They’ve grown up with “The Night Music” with Frank Dominguez and “Performance Today”.

Where can our listeners find you online?

Website

During the last four years or so I have been preparing and recording a Bach album featuring the monumental Chaconne. My arrangement, much like Busoni’s expands the textures towards the guitar’s possibilities and has received a lot of positive attention in the classical world.

Video: Chaconne – BWV 1004 – Bach/Mearns, Alan Mearns – Guitar
     


     

Quisol

Jae Quisol

Tell us about what you do! 

I’m a singer-songwriter and producer residing on native Catawba land in Mooresville, just North of Davidson. I currently work as an administrator at a nonprofit called Arts Connect International which focuses on building equity in the arts and through the arts. But I grew up around here. I attended North Mecklenburg high school, where I completed the international baccalaureate program.

I went to the college of Charleston where I double majored in international studies in political science and I earned my masters at Harvard graduate school of education where I focused on arts in education. Over the past few years, I have been independently producing and publishing my music and I’ve had the privilege of  studying music and music activism with some incredible people, including Grammy award winning musician, Esperanza Spalding, and MacArthur genius awardee Vijay Iyer. My music reflects all that I’ve learned in these different journeys and studies and  my own emotions. It’s a form of self-care for me, and I hope that others who resonate with what I have to say will find peace and healing in this music.

In your view, what makes classical music on public radio important to the cultural life of our region?  

I think public radio is an amazing platform that connects audiences to new artists in a more human way. So often the streaming platforms only offer more of what you already like whereas the radio shows are curated by real people with real relationships with the artists that they put on the airwaves. I think this new wave of spotlighting new composers and local artists is a wonderful piece of WDAV today. 

Describe your connection(s) to WDAV Classical Public Radio. 

Something I found really charming about the Charlotte area from my growing up experience was the emphasis on literature, education, and the performing arts. I remember visiting the imaginenon, the big library in uptown Charlotte and Discovery Place. These sites are infused with the sound of public radio in my memory, and specifically classical and jazz music. All of it together is really nostalgic for me

Where can our listeners find you online?

Website | Instagram | Dreamworld Links | Facebook | SoundCloud

Video: Jae Quisol – In The Flesh (Official Video)
     

Geoff Nuttall, Spoleto Festival USA’s Director of Chamber Music, dies at 56

The classical music community is mourning the loss of Geoff Nuttall, co-founding first violinist of the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ), beloved faculty member of Stanford University’s department of music and director of chamber music at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina. Nuttall died in California, where he was based, on Oct. 19 of pancreatic cancer. He was 56.

Read full article at CBC Music

Pictured: Geoff Nuttall. Credit Geoff Yost/Spoleto Festival USA.

Satisfying Strauss, Less Satisfying Elgar in Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Season-Opener

By Lawrence Toppman

Every cellist who plays Edward Elgar’s concerto after 1965 does so in the shadow of Jacqueline du Pré. Mstislav Rostropovich, her teacher, heard du Pré’s heart-stopping recording and reportedly took the piece out of his repertoire for years, because she played it so definitively. (He never recorded it commercially.)

Great cellists have brought their own qualities to the concerto over the last half-century: Pierre Fournier’s nobility. Yo-Yo Ma’s tenderness, Julian Lloyd Webber’s dignified sadness. But you have to project some intensely personal understanding of it to make the piece strike home, and Inbal Segev didn’t do that in the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s season-opening concert Friday at Knight Theater.

She began with a warm, expansive tone that promised well, but she never got deep inside the music: That burnished sound soon turned into endless note-spinning over the next half-hour. She reminded me of golden-voiced opera sopranos who hit every note with impeccable technique but might as well be singing from a restaurant menu. That was also true of her encore, a movement from a Bach suite. (To be fair to her, I was backstage Saturday doing an intermission feature for the WDAV broadcast. From what I could hear, she seemed to be playing with more focus and personality that night.)

Guest conductor Andrew Grams didn’t overwhelm her with sound but took advantage of the orchestral passages to add badly-needed drama. He treated those moments not just as simple accompaniment but as the final bold strokes of a man who finished this concerto in 1919 and never wrote another major work, though he lived 15 more years. (World War I shattered the spirit of this last great Victorian composer.

Grams got us off to a strong start with Anna Clyne’s brief, eccentric and entertaining “Pivot.” That churning piece blends genres recklessly, usually returning to the same percolating rhythm before embarking in a new direction. Hearing it was like walking down the midway at a musical carnival, where tents pumped out the sounds of pastoral landscapes, Celtic influences, brass fanfares, dimly heard hymns, even a touch of Eastern European schmaltz.

The final work on the program, Richard Strauss’ “Aus Italien,” had a similar cinematic quality. Despite movement titles such as “At the Shores of Sorrento” and “Amid the Ruins of Rome,” it never sounds particularly Italian until a final giddy set of variations on “Funiculì, Funiculà.” (Strauss, who vacationed in Italy in 1886, thought he’d adapted a Neapolitan folk song. He didn’t know Luigi Denza had written it six years earlier to celebrate the opening of an elevated railway. Denza sued Strauss and won the right to be paid royalties.)

“Aus Italien” doesn’t sound much like the mature Strauss, either. The 22-year-old composer had yet to find his voice; he’d do that a few years later with “Don Juan” and “Death and Transfiguration.” Still, this Italian jaunt has much to enjoy, including a Mendelssohnian lightness in the long “Sorrento” movement and a vaguely Brahmsian sweep in the opening “In the Country.” Juxtaposing Elgar’s last towering orchestral work with Strauss’ first full-length stretch in that direction is the kind of programming the Charlotte Symphony does more often these days, and I welcome it.

Pictured: Inbal Segev credit Grant Legan/inbalsegev.com

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Concert Brings Balm to A Reeling City

By Lawrence Toppman

Music won’t heat your home, freeze your food or keep your Internet flowing. But if you were one of the thousands of people in Mecklenburg County who lost power during Tropical Storm Ian – I speak from experience – you might have found solace in the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra(CSO)’s concerts last weekend at First United Methodist Church.

The CSO’s Classical Series officially begins Oct, 7-8, with performances of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. These earlier concerts, gently priced at $25 and uniting former music director Christopher Warren-Green with Grammy-winning organist Paul Jacobs, served as a sweet appetizer to the main course.

The program started with restrained merriment in Handel’s organ concerto “The Cuckoo and the Nightingale,” passed through the high drama of Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony (his fifth), and ended with an eruption of joy in Saint-Saens’ “Organ” Symphony (his third).

Why put these concerts, co-sponsored by the Charlotte Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, in this church? Three reasons.

First, the beautiful array of organ pipes at Belk Theater, a noble backdrop for CSO gigs, aren’t connected to anything. (That story’s too long to tell here.) Second, all three composers – four, if you count J.S. Bach for the encore Jacobs gave us – played the organ in churches: Handel briefly in Halle, Germany, as a paid Reformed organist; Mendelssohn as an accompanist to his own sacred works; Saint-Saens at La Madeleine, the official church of the French Empire.

Third, as John Apple of the AGO Charlotte Chapter pointed out, First Methodist has superb acoustics and in one way improves on Belk Theater: You can always hear brass and strings distinctly when they play together. I sat in the back row of the balcony and appreciated the extra clarity in every piece.

The program didn’t give Jacobs, the first solo organist to earn a Grammy, much chance to show off. (He won in 2011 for Messiaen’s “Livre Du Saint-Sacrement.”) He brought good humor and nimble fingerwork to Handel’s brief concerto, where he imitated the birds of the title, and both quiet spirituality and thunderous chords to Saint-Saens’ symphony, which has only a supporting part for organ. He really shone in his encore, an A minor fugue by Bach that required virtuosic technique and energy.

Warren-Green and the orchestra came off best in the “Reformation,” Mendelssohn’s most muscular and Beethoven-like symphony. (He wrote it in 1830, just three years after Beethoven died; it celebrates the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, a key document in the Protestant Reformation.) We went from the hammer blows of the brass in the opening movement to the tension of the allegro vivace, the mournfulness of the andante and the spiritual uplift of the finale, where Mendelssohn incorporates Martin Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

The CSO played Saint-Saens with equal zeal, but Warren-Green made a curious choice: He took the middle section extraordinarily slowly, aiming for deep serenity but stretching the melody to the outermost limits of what the music could bear – and, to my mind, well beyond them.

The long multi-part finale sprang back into shape at once, capped by the three titanic organ chords that lead into the delightful rippling melody used so effectively in the movie “Babe.” If there can be such a thing as a chill of joy running up the spine, this music inspires it.

Five History-Making, Heart-Pounding Takeaways from the 2022 Tony Awards

By Carly Gillis

“Phone rings, door chimes, in comes company….” as the nominees flocked to Radio City Music Hall for the 75th annual Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Broadway Theatre last Sunday, June 12. Never short on razzle and dazzle, the American Theatre Wing’s annual awards ceremony was a triumphant celebration of not only this year’s winners, but the theater community as a whole. In honor of the first “real,” in-person Tony Awards ceremony in three years, WDAV counts down five standout moments from American theater’s biggest night.  

     

5. Angela Lansbury wins the Tony Lifetime Achievement Award

One of the most celebrated stars across many entertainment mediums, Angela Lansbury was recognized on Sunday night for her 70+ years in showbusiness with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Theatre. Unable to attend the ceremony herself, Len Cariou, who originated the title role in Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 musical Sweeney Todd opposite Lansbury’s Ms. Lovett, dedicated a touching speech to her followed by a performance from the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. The choir sang a meaningful piece from the musical Mame, which won Lansbury her first Tony Award. 

VIDEO: The Tony Awards: Act One | The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus Performs “Mame”

     

4. A British Invasion 

Mirroring the British Invasion of the 1980s and early 1990s when smash hits from West End found their way to equal Broadway success, hit productions from across the pond made their mark on this year’s Tony Awards. Six, a gender-swapped revival of Company, and The Girl From North Country all won multiple Tony Awards after dominating the Olivier Awards in 2019 (not to mention that as Company swept the awards, the legendary Patti Lupone took home her third Tony). History tends to repeat itself, and it’s safe to say this won’t be the last crop of West End musicals to make it big on Broadway. 

VIDEO: The 75th Annual Tony Awards | Six: The Musical

     

3. A Strange Loop Wins Best Musical and Best Book of Musical

Micheal R. Jackson’s groundbreaking new musical A Strange Loop follows the life of Usher, who is trying to write a musical about being a Black gay man while also dealing with what it means to embrace both Blackness and queerness in modern-day NYC. The touching work, which recently became the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama before heading to Broadway (no small feat), uses internal dialogue to progress the plot and bring the audience into Usher’s mindset. In his acceptance speech, Jackson spoke of how he wrote to help him understand himself and cope with the low periods of his life. 

VIDEO: ‘A Strange Loop’ wins best musical at the 75th Tony Awards

     

2. Jennifer Hudson Achieves EGOT Status 

When Jennifer Hudson, one of the most decorated actresses of her generation, received her first Tony Award for co-producing A Strange Loop, she achieved one of the American entertainment industry’s highest honors: the EGOT. Hudson is the second African-American woman to achieve EGOT status (meaning someone has won at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) and 17th person to do so in history. In a previous interview, Hudson explained that she adopted two dogs named Oscar and Grammy before her Oscar and Grammy wins, joking that she should adopt two more dogs named Emmy and Tony to complete her set. Either way, having four dogs and an EGOT is a win in our books. 

VIDEO: Jennifer Hudson Achieves EGOT Status

     

1. North Carolina-Raised Ariana DeBose Makes a Splash as Host

Coming fresh off an Academy Award win for Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story, North Carolina born and raised Ariana DeBose was selected to host the 75th Tony Awards, a massive achievement in itself. However, DeBose exceeded every possible expectation, making the ceremony one for the memory books. From kicking off the show with a Broadway medley featuring numbers from Chicago and Hamilton, to dancing Fosse style with Sam Rockwell, to getting audience members involved (looking at you, Andrew Garfield), DeBose proved she truly is a triple threat ready to take the entertainment industry by storm. 

VIDEO: The 75th Annual Tony Awards | Ariana DeBose Opening Number

     

Sources and Further Reading

Moments From the 2022 Tony Awards: ‘Strange Loop,’ ‘Lehman Trilogy’ and More (New York Times)

Patti LuPone Pays Tribute to Broadway Understudies and COVID Safety Officers at 2022 Tonys (People)

How ‘A Strange Loop’ fits into Black Theater Legacies (NPR)

Angela Lansbury Receives Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre Award at 2022 Tonys(People)

     

“Omar” Triumphs, “Unholy Wars” Struggles

Pictured: Cheryse McLeod Lewis in “Omar” photo by Leigh Webber/courtesy Spoleto Festival USA.

By Lawrence Toppman

“A folk musician and a movie composer.” I heard that fragment of speech, which sounded a bit dismissive, in the lobby of the Sottile Theatre before the second performance of “Omar.” But why should the pairing of co-composers Rhiannon Giddens, who also wrote the libretto, and Michael Abels raise eyebrows?

Composers best known in their day for songs have written operas for 200 years, from Schubert through George Gershwin and up to Rufus Wainwright today. Many authors of film scores have written operas: Bernstein, Copland, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Herrmann, Saint-Saens, Walton and others. And Giddens received classical training at Oberlin College, while Abels has written for symphony orchestras. (The Charlotte Symphony played his “Global Warming” this season.)

In any case, they left virtually no skeptics unconvinced, no eyes dry and nobody’s sense of wonder unstirred with this piece based on the 1831 memoir of Omar ibn Said. They turned that brief and ambiguous book, so short on details about Omar’s passage to America and life as a slave in the Carolinas, into a universal story about a man’s search for self-understanding and refusal to give in to hatred and despair.

Omar, an educated Arabic-speaking man from West Africa, came to Charleston as a slave. His memoir tells us he received cruel treatment at the hands of his first master, ran away, ended up in a Cumberland County jail (surely no other opera contains the plea “Go to Fayetteville!”) and was bought by the relatively kind James Owen, who attempted to convert Omar to Christianity and gets much praise in the little book. Owen may have helped Omar publish his memoirs to show the world Southern slaves were well-treated, but even he probably never knew whether the slave clung to his original Islamic faith.

Writers can adapt this story however they like, and Giddens and Abels did an especially fine job. They quote from it, don’t make significant alternations – Omar doesn’t get a love interest or escape to freedom at last – yet expand it philosophically, as Omar considers his plight and his duty to Allah.

The composers give most of the simpler melodies to the two dozen members of the Spoleto Festival Chorus, who put them across clearly and emotionally. Elements of folk music do come in, as do north African percussion, and all fit. Two women, not described in the book, counsel Omar along the way: young Julie, sung beautifully by Laquita Mitchell, and mama Fatima (dignified UNC-Greensboro and UNCSA graduate Cheryse McLeod Lewis), who supplies balm.

Yet the show belongs to Jamez (pronounced Jah-MEZZ) McCorkle. Spoleto fans heard him in 2017 as a heartbreaking Lenski in “Eugene Onegin.” Here, hobbling slightly on a boot encasing a damaged ankle, he radiated a powerful if sometimes anguished physical presence and a tenor that sailed out over the big orchestra like a lighthouse beacon above a stormy sea. Though the opera rarely approaches atonality, he gets long stretches of declamatory singing, especially in Act 1, and brings each vividly to life.

He will reportedly tour with the show, which goes to Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and New York before ending up in Chapel Hill. I can hardly imagine “Omar” without him, though if the opera has a long life – and this one might – he’ll have to pass the torch.

Karim Sulayman and Coral Dolphin on kneel on stage in a position of prayer in Unholy Wars. Photo by Leigh Webber.
Karim Sulayman and Coral Dolphin in Unholy Wars; photo by Leigh Webber.

In “Unholy Wars,” a worthy idea got short-changed by awkward execution. Lebanese-American Karim Sulayman conceived the idea, assembled the music and sang most of the numbers in a plangent, flexible and sensitive tenor voice. He wanted to look at the way European composers stereotyped Middle Eastern people through opera, especially in works about the Crusades, and challenge our assumptions by giving those characters individuality.

Unfortunately, he chose no composer later than Handel, whose “Lascia ch’io pianga” (the only familiar melody) capped the 70-minute show. That decision made the production monochromatic and finally monotonous – there’s not a single fast-paced section – and simply showing victimized characters as stereotypes does little to make us care about them.

The small pit band at Dock Street Theatre played with taste and restraint, and soprano Raha Mirzadegan and baritone John Taylor Ward supported Sulayman well, especially in the longest excerpt: Monteverdi’s “Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda,” where a Christian crusader loves a Saracen, kills her unknowingly in battle, then baptizes her so she can enter a Christian heaven.

This demise, as slowed-down as the rest of the show, made Suleyman’s point long before the end of the number. Why silent dancer Coral Dolphin slowly writhed around the stage, sometimes washing herself with water and sometimes with sand, I cannot guess.