“Layla and Majnun”: An Azerbaijani dance opera for the ages

First, there is his exquisite use of the mesmerizing music. It was originally a three-hour opera by the 23-year-old Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli, which the Silkroad Ensemble arranged into an hour. The result is rich and velvet-toned, with slow and quickening pulses, and plaintive, questioning vocals. One recurring theme has the waltzy, humming quality and poignancy of an Aaron Copland air.