From our comfortable home in the Midwest, the Middle East seems exotic and mysterious. The lure of the Fertile Crescent, the ancient culture, the maze of history and time, all these things conspire to lure the imagination of the Westerner. One can only hope the dreamers of the Middle East reciprocate and find the idea of Missouri as intoxicating. The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra celebrates Western civilization's long fascination with the area with its next Classical Detours program, Middle East Crossroads. David Robertson and guest artist Kathleen Mattis (viola) summon the Middle East's spirit of sweeping adventure with Maurice Jarre's Lawrence of Arabia overture and conjure its smoky eroticism with the Bacchanale from Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila. Also on the program are selections from Verdi's Aida and the third piece of Behzad Ranjbaran's Persian Trilogy, Seven Passages, which is inspired by the tale of Rostam from the Persian Book of Kings, Shahnameh. The performance begins at 6:30 p.m. at Powell Symphony Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.slso.org). Tickets are $20 to $30, and the show is preceded by a 5:30 p.m. cocktail hour with special prices on appetizers and complimentary Schlafly beer (reach for something light and crisp — we're gonna be in the sandbox for a while with Larry of the dunes, after all).
Fri., March 20, 2009

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