Arts and Entertainment

Get in the gypsy spirit with Saratoga Chamber Orchestra on Whidbey Island

Pianist Linnea Bardarson will be the guest soloist for Saratoga Chamber Orchestra
Pianist Linnea Bardarson will be the guest soloist for Saratoga Chamber Orchestra's presentation of 'Gypsy Nights' on April 4 and 5 in Oak Harbor and Langley respectively.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Larry Heidel

Succumb to the seductions of exotic gypsy dancing in a jasmine-scented garden.

That’s where one’s imagination is led when Spanish composer Manuel de Falla’s evocative “Nights in the Gardens of Spain” is performed for piano and orchestra.

Whidbey Island’s Saratoga Chamber Orchestra will perform the piece as part of an evening of music titled “Gypsy Nights” on Monday, April 4 in Oak Harbor and Tuesday, April 5 in Langley.

In its fourth season, the orchestra will relinquish itself to the evocative artfulness of Falla, Spain’s greatest

20th-century composer, along with a performance of selections from Georges Bizet’s homage to the tempestuous heroine of “Carmen,” and George Enescu’s “Romanian Rhapsody No. 2.” The program will also include Falla’s “Ritual Fire Dance.”

The orchestra performs under the artistic direction of conductor Legh W. Burns, and welcomes special guest pianist Linnea Bardarson, who will perform “Nights in the Gardens of Spain.”

“This concert is all about atmospherics,” Burns said.

“The audience will feel a part of the Romanian gypsy culture, be able to smell the jasmine in the gardens surrounding Alhambra, and spend a little time being beguiled by Bizet’s Carmen, perhaps the most famous gypsy of all.  This is a concert of sensuality, seduction and suggestion,” he added.

A Seattle native, Bardarson spent her childhood summers on Whidbey Island and excelled in her piano studies, receiving advanced performance degrees from Mills College and New England Conservatory. Presently, she is an active soloist and professional accompanist in the Boston music scene. Bardarson has been fortunate to tour Europe with the Massachusetts Symphony and record as soloist with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic and the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic.

In its movements, “Nights in the Gardens of Spain” depicts three gardens: “En el Generalife” — In the Generalife — where a harem waits in the jasmine-scented gardens surrounding Alhambra, the summer palace of the king in Granada, Andalusia, Spain; the “Danza lejana” — Distant Dance — a second garden at an unidentified distance in which is performed an exotic dance; and “En los jardines de la Sierra de Córdoba” — In the Gardens of the Sierra de Córdoba — the third Spanish garden features lively gypsy dancing and singing for the feast of Corpus Christi.

Falla referred to “Nights in the Gardens of Spain” as symphonic impressions. The piano part has been called elaborate and eloquent, though never dominant. The orchestral writing is lush, and its original is written for piano, three flutes and piccolo, two oboes and English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, cymbals, triangle, celesta, harp and strings.

The April 4 performance is at Oak Harbor High School and the April 5 concert will be at South Whidbey High School. Both concerts start at 7 p.m.

General admission tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors/military. Students 18 and younger are admitted free; those younger than 14 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets are available in Langley at Moonraker Bookstore, in Freeland at the BookBay, in Coupeville at Bayleaf and in Oak Harbor at Bayleaf and ClickMusic.

Cash/check and MC/V/Discover will be accepted at the door.

For additional information, visit



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