Layla and Majnun: The Love Story That Inspired Eric Clapton, Yo-Yo Ma, and Mark Morris

Onstage the dancers swirl in and out of complex formations on a multilevel set, filing around the musicians, who are grouped in the center of the stage. The women wear long dresses of coral flecked with white, the men tunics of marbled cobalt blue over white trousers. The singers are seated dead center on a raised platform, their continuo musicians, on tar and kamanche, next to them. The voices of the singers, Alim Qasimov, the renowned master of mugham singing from Azerbaijan, and his daughter and protege, Fargana Qasimova, rise above the dance, pure and clear as cold water, wrenching as a knife to the heart. Their upraised hands and faces, torn with emotion, seem to echo their words, as do their bodies, swaying in the aftermath of the sung poetry.