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'Scheherazade,' 1001 Nights Retold in a Symphony

Bedtime stories took on a new meaning for Scheherazade. Her husband, the Sultan, had the nasty habit of marrying a woman at night and killing her in the morning.

So Scheherazade thought up a plan. Every night she would tell him a story, and leave it hanging. 1001 captivating stories later, he decided to keep her.

These Tales of the Arabian Nights inspired Russian composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov to compose a symphonic suite called Scheherazade in 1888. In the hands of a good orchestra and conductor, it's a technicolor tour de force.

Conductor Marin Alsop says a successful performance of Scheherazade is all about telling the story.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
Marin Alsop
In 2007, Marin Alsop became music director of the Baltimore Symphony, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She was named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive the award. Between performances, she appears as an occasional guest on Weekend Edition Saturday and as a commentator for NPR.org's Marin Alsop on Music column.