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Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on December 17th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 41

Link's adventure through Hyrule comes to life at the 'Symphony of the Goddesses' in San Jose

BY SHELLY CONE


NOT JUST A GAME
'The Legend of Zelda—Symphony of the Goddesses' features a live orchestra and projection of moments from the Legend of Zelda videogames for a live, immersive experience.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW CRAIG

A night at the symphony generally conjures up the thought of needing to get a suit pressed or that little black dress dry-cleaned. So why then did a select group of concertgoers pull out their green tunics and long flowing princess dresses this weekend? 

The Legend of Zelda—Symphony of the Goddesses wrapped up its last U.S. show in San Jose on Saturday, Dec. 14, to the delight of gamers and symphony music aficionados alike. The experience is unique because it marries the video game world with live classical music; an orchestra performs the more than 25-year-old franchise’s score exactly in time with projected scenes from the game.

At once whimsical and fantastic, melodic and professional, the concert has attracted a diverse audience of cosplayers, gamers, pop-culture enthusiasts, and subscription holders wearing jeans and T-shirts, suits and ties, or—you guessed it—their favorite costumes from the game.

“The ultimate goal is to attract people to the symphony. The appeal of such a concert is you don’t really have to be familiar with Zelda to appreciate what we’re doing with the franchise,” show producer Jason Michael Paul said. Though, if you are a fan, the concert holds a special allure. 

The view of gamer culture often carries a negative connotation. It’s often stereotyped as a world of immature slackers who spend countless hours glued to a screen. What’s rarely considered is the fact that what draws them in is the nature of the game, the world behind the screen and tales that are created. In the Legend of Zelda—Symphony of the Goddesses, everyone gets to enter the fantasy world of Hyrule as presented in symphony form. Fans get to relive their favorite moments while even those who have never held a game controller can relate to Link, the game’s hero. It becomes a multimedia storytelling event. But any gamer could’ve told you that. 

Filling Link’s shoes as he rescues Princess Zelda—who is said to be named after the wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald—has been a most epic story, one that has persevered for more than 25 years. Paul said that for gamers those little bits and blips they hear when playing the game only serve to push the story along and contribute to the excitement. 

“This is a soundtrack of my generation. Spending countless hours in front of screens. This is how we always wished it could have been performed,” Paul said.

The Legend of Zelda—Symphony of the Goddesses “Second Quest” has all-new arrangements directly approved by franchise producer Eiji Aonuma and Nintendo composer and sound director Koji Kondo of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda fame.

It’s been packing concert halls all over the world, but it began with just the idea to bring those games to life. At the time video game concerts were being held exclusively in Japan, Paul said. As a gamer himself and a fan of Final Fantasy, Paul pitched the idea—the first-in-the-world video game music concert accompanied by visuals. 

As a promoter, Paul already had some serious production credentials, like playing a part in producing concerts for Luciano Pavarotti and The Three Tenors. So it was of little surprise to those in the industry when he successfully produced the video game concert Dear Friends—Music from Final Fantasy. That success lead him to tour Play! A Video Game Symphony, which was a catalog of music from various video games. 

In 2011 he coordinated the Nintendo 2011 E3 press event and he produced the orchestral recording released with Nintendo’s Skyward Sword. With Skyward Sword Nintendo also wanted a series of overseas concerts. 

That began the first Legend of Zelda concert tour, paving the way for the second tour, the current Legend of Zelda—Symphony of the Goddesses, featuring new material and updated music from Skyward Sword.

The best way to tell the story of The Legend of Zelda was to break it up into four movements, Paul said. The four movements include “Ocarina of Time,” “The Wind Waker,” “Twilight Princess,” and “A Link to the Past,” with interludes like “Dungeons of Hyrule,” “Kakariko Village,” and “Songs of the Hero.” 

The movements are complemented by mini movies of scenes from The Legend of Zelda forming a sort of video game music video. But Paul doesn’t make it just about the game because, after all, this music is performed by an accomplished bunch of musicians. So the videos feature close-ups of the orchestra as well, projecting a soloist or harpist on the big screen. 

“It’s just a very wonderful presentation of the music. I don’t think it gets any better,” he said.

The concert wrapped up its U.S. tour in San Jose this month, but Paul will launch Replay—Symphony of Heroes in March. The event will have the same format, but will consist of songs from a variety of video games. 

To learn more, visit replay-symphony.com

 

Swing on down

The Chumash Casino and Resort presents Brian Setzer and his swingin’ Big Band Christmas Extravaganza on Dec. 19 at 8 p.m., Chumash Casino and Resort, 3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez. More info: 1-800-CHUMASH or chumashcasino.com.


A chorale of masters

The Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale and Orchestra presents its 2013 Holiday Concert, “Welcome All Wonders,” on Dec. 20at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 21at 5 p.m., and Dec. 22at 3 p.m. at Church at the Crossroads, 236 La Lata Drive, Buellton. More info: 350-4241, info@syvchorale.org, or syvchorale.org.


Strings for the holidays

The Santa Maria Philharmonic Society presents a string quartet performing holiday music on Dec. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Shepard Hall, Santa Maria Public Library, 421 S. McClelland St., Santa Maria.


D’Vine music

The D’Vine Wine Bar and Bistro features Dan Mally on Dec. 21and Dead Zed’s Chopper on Dec. 28 with both shows starting at 7:30 p.m. Karaoke nights are Thursdaysfrom 7 to 9 p.m. at the D’Vine Wine Bar and Bistro, 107 W. Ocean Ave., Lompoc. More info: 430-8356 or facebook.com.


Live in Guad

Creative Juices presents Loren Radis live on Dec. 21and The Stupefiers on Dec. 28. Shows happen from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Creative Juices Lounge, 874 Guadalupe St., Guadalupe. More info: 219-0518 or creativejuiceslounge.com.


Sharing the mic

Lucia’s Wine Co. offers an open mic night featuring wine, poetry, and live music on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at the tasting room, 126 E. Clark Ave., Orcutt. More info: 332-3080.


Maverick jams

The Maverick Saloon offers live entertainment, including country music by The Fourcasters on Dec. 20 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. “Concert on the Deck” featuring John Lyle is Dec. 21at 3 p.m. Dusty Jugz perform on Dec. 21at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. at the saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: 686-4785 or mavericksyv@aol.com.

 

Contact contributor Shelly Cone through Arts Editor Joe Payne at jpayne@santamariasun.com.