Concertgoers will blast to the past to old Baghdad in Serafin String Quartet's new Arabian nights-themed show at the Milton Theatre on Friday.

Concertgoers will blast to the past to old Baghdad in Serafin String Quartet's new Arabian nights-themed show at the Milton Theatre on Friday.

Serafin's program, “Arabian Nights, Kismet! And the Magic of Borodin,” follows princes, beggars, magicians and maidens through the course of a day that will transform all their fates.

The one-hour show will feature an original script of stories narrated by guest actor Danny Peak, set to the soundtrack of Alexander Borodin's “String Quartet No. 2”. Borodin is famous for scoring the Tony Award-winning musical “Kismet.”

Serafin violist Esme Allen-Creighton discussed the origins of the “Arabian Nights” program, the popularity of “Kismet” and the quartet's Milton Theatre debut.

What's on your mind whenever you're playing a new venue?

The first thing we have to do is adapt to the acoustics of the new venue and make sure we have a sense of the hall. Every hall is different, because of how challenging it might be to project or how long things resonate, or how full the sound is. It can really affect our interpretation and how subtly we can play or if we have to throw tons of energy to really projecting the music further. Those are all considerations. What's fun, too, about a new venue is they all have their own feel.

How would you describe your program?

Probably the best way to think about this production we're putting together is that it's like an old-school radio drama. There's going to be narration and dialogue, sort of interspersed with music. Think of it, too, as a mini opera. I examined the play “Kismet,” written in 1911 by Edward Knoblock, which became adapted into a musical in the 1950s. It was really popular and made into a movie. So [Serafin's] version, instead of having words and music in the form of song, is leaving the music instrumental. I'm thinking sort of like an opera composer because all of the characters and plot ideas in the story get their own little music riff. Whenever their little plot detail suggests, I comb through the music to find little themes, licks or riffs I thought brought the plot or character to life. We tell the story, connecting these musical motions to the characters and their dialogue.

How did the idea for this themed concert come about?

We did a similar program last year for a few different purposes. Mainly for the Mauch Chunk Opera House, we did a scripted concert in the same format that combined Edvard Grieg's “String Quartet in G Minor” with the play “Peer Gynt.” That was our first experiment with this kind of format and it was really successful. So we thought we want to do another sort of music-and-storyline type production.

Why was the musical “Kismet” so revered?

Today we're a globalized society where it's not unusual to be connected, even on a daily basis, with cultures all over the world. But in 1911 in European countries... the play was written by Edward Knoblock in England and they would've had no daily contact with a culture that was so foreign as ancient Arabian culture. So, it didn't even seem like another culture, it seemed like a fantasy world. It was so mysterious and so foreign, you could dream about wild episodes occurring in that context.


WHAT 'Arabian Nights, Kismet! And the Magic of Borodin,' presented by Serafin String Quartet

WHEN 8 p.m., April 15

WHERE Milton Theatre, 210 Union St., Milton

COST $15 to $25 general admission; $30 VIP

INFO Visit or call 684-3038