Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

Image from Destructoid.
I had the opportunity recently to see The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. It was certainly worth going to; the music was excellent as always, the symphony was flawless, and the accompanying video made it a visual treat as well. Read on for a full account...

I could not have been happier with the choice of venue for the symphony. I'd been to the Orpheum once before, but the architecture inside is perfect for The Legend of Zelda. Upon taking my seat on the balcony, I saw onstage the typical symphonic instruments, although there were also multiple harps and space for a choir. Above them was a screen broadcasting with the Triforce emblem, glowing with sunlight. I know from this interview that Symphony of the Goddesses uses local orchestras, but unfortunately, there was nothing around to indicate exactly who I was watching.

Before the show, I caught a few great cosplayers posing
outside the theatre.
Conducting the show was the orchestrator of the show and arranger of the 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD that was included with Skyward Sword, Susie Seiter. Upon the show's start, we were treated to three songs before any introduction, an Overture that consisted of the Main Theme as well as some Skyward Sword music, and then a medley of dungeon music from the series, followed by the Kakariko Village theme.

While the songs were playing, the screen formerly showing the Triforce changed to reflect them; during the Overture, scenes from various games were shown, and the dungeon medley showed a variety of Links fighting his way through the dungeons of A Link to the Past, The Legend of Zelda, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The Kakariko Village video showcased Link running through the town, as well as being attacked by Cuccos in both A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, prompting laughter from the audience.

The MC for the night did not introduce himself, but introduced Seiter, who was filling in for regular conductor Eimear Noone. He spoke for several minutes on the symphony itself, saying that he wished the show could include every track from the series, but instead it took the core of the series, the central feelings and most recognizable tunes. He then introduced the first two of its four movements: a prelude, using music from Ocarina of Time, followed by the second movement, Wind Waker.

As with the dungeon medley, Kakariko theme, and Overture, the screen above the choir displayed a montage of clips from the games each movement honored. Ocarina of Time's began with the 3DS' version of Link awakening in Kokiri Forest and climaxed with his fight against Ganondorf. Wind Waker's was quite similar, the video progressing through the game as the music flowed from theme to theme.

The Orpheum is beautiful on its own; it was the
perfect place for the Triforce onscreen.
After a short intermission, we were treated to the show's intermezzo: the theme from the Great Fairy Fountain. After, the MC returned and introduced the third movement, Twilight Princess, but left the final selection a secret.

The crowd burst into applause when the video began for the final movement: A Link to the Past. That particular game was my first Zelda game, and it was a real treat hearing its music fully orchestrated, especially while watching a truncated version of the adventure play onscreen.

When it was finished, Susie and the orchestra received a standing ovation. However, she returned to the stage shortly after, asking the audience if they wanted one more song. After the roaring applauce, the performers launched into "Ballad of the Wind Fish" from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, although the screen was blank during this.

After a second standing ovation, Susie returned again, and the symphony played the theme to Ocarina of Time's Gerudo Valley; the screen above displayed scenes from the game interspersed with computer-enhanced illustrations of fields and deserts.

A t-shirt was one of two
souvenirs available.
As Gerudo Valley came to an end, the MC stepped onstage one final time to introduce a new movement added to the symphony after hearing many requests for it: Majora's Mask. Just as with the game itself, the music was darker than the rest of the symphony, and the orchestra did an amazing job with it.

The music of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses was absolutely fantastic. The orchestra seemed well-rehearsed, and Seiter was quite the competent conductor.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the rest of the production. No program was provided, and as a result I don't know which orchestra performed, nor who the MC was; anyone only tangentially-familiar with the games' music would not know what selections they listened to. It seems like something that would be a rather obvious inclusion, but not even the show's credits listed the performers or music.

The available poster is gorgeous, although
I wish there had been more merchandise.
The merchandise, too, left some to be desired; because Symphony of the Goddesses came about as a result of the franchise's 25th anniversary, there were quite a few possibilities: orders for symphony CDs, toys, the games themselves, even sheet music. Instead, there were only two products available: a poster and a t-shirt, the latter of which sold out before the show was half-over. Admittedly, the poster is gorgeous and the t-shirt a great souvenir, but one would expect a bit more for such a well-known series' anniversary.

Even the show's website feels sloppy. The artwork is pretty, and the logo classy, but the link to their Facebook leads simply to the franchise's official page, the Twitter linked to does not exist, and the sections about the tour itself and the people involved as well as press and booking opportunities are all empty. The pages all simply read "Coming Soon.", the same as they've been for months.

Although the production surrounding the show seems thrown together haphazardly, the symphony itself was wonderful. The arrangements were flawless, the performances beautiful, and seeing the games played out on the large screen was a visual treat. If you have the opportunity to see The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses and are a fan of the franchise, it is well worth attending.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I will go to the concert here in Mexico city. I really like your article and I was wondering if you could tell me how much cost each sourvenir? because I really want a t-shirt!! :D

    So thank you for your review about the concert :D I hope you can answer my question thanks! :)