Tim Woods, Dale Harrison and Jason Michael Paul Entertainment, Inc. present: The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.
Performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the orchestral adventure will feature an all new movement from Skyward Sword, a much-anticipated Breath of the Wild arrangement, and the return of a classic that might just make some wishes come true!
Brought to life as never before, witness as 30 years of video game history unfolds, complete with a stirring cinematic video presentation, synced with the game's sensational, thematic and action-packed soundtracks played live by a full orchestra and choir. An event not to be missed!
Led by respected Australian conductor Jessica Gethin, the two-hour concert comes to life with a full orchestra and choir, and a reimagined score that draws from requested Zelda games, including The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, while still paying homage to such classics as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The concert's five-movement symphony regales ears with original music from Nintendo composers, including Koji Kondo, and recalling moments of Link conquering dungeons and running through forests. Throughout the evening, a video collage syncs up with the adventurous tunes to spotlight exciting moments from the venerable franchise.
Event duration: 2 hours 15 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be able to view The Legend of Zelda - Symphony of Goddesses. It turned out to actually be my first time officially attending a show featuring the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. I was pleasantly surprised to see the 2000+ seating venue had very few empty seats remaining by the time the show commenced, with many of the audience member choosing to dress as the characters Link and Princess Zelda. The Legend of Zelda game series has been around for over 30 years now (the first release was in February 1986), and that long history was evident in the audience, with a wide range of people of all ages and backgrounds attending.
Unsure quite what to expect I took my seat and waited. The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra were already on stage and ready to play. After the arrival of Australian conductor, and a recorded introduction from Nintendo game producer Shigero Miyamoto, the show commenced. Each performance in the Symphony of Goddesses come with an accompanying visual component, pulled straight from the video game cinematics and gameplay.
Interestingly, the visual components don't necessarily work in chronological order. Some performances will focus around certain characters, and the visuals will switch between their appearances in different games. most performances do however work in a story manner, providing an abridged version of the title in question with the musical performance matching what goes on on screen.
As far as the facilities at the venue go, it was satisfactory. While I don't wear glasses all the time, I do need them for seeing things at a distance (eg. movies, and driving). Despite having such a large screen I did end up having a bit of eye strain trying to read the font on the screen (which was situated at the far rear of the stage). So if you have glasses, it is definitely recommended that you bring them, or get a seat up close to the stage. As the visual component involves gameplay and cinematics from the games (which are generally viewed from a couple metres away), it is not optimal resolution for the large screen. But for those that are well versed in the plots and characters of the Legend of Zelda series, this will be a non-issue as the plots are already known.
Musically, the performances were exceptional. With the sheer number of musicians on stage, the breadth and scale of the sound and melody was solid. The choir alone consisted of 20 people, and the Auckland Philharmonia orchestra had every instrument covered. I should note that during the performances, the visual component would change from the gameplay, at scanning live footage of the musicians as they performed. I particularly loved watching the percussion section, watching them switch from the gong, to cymbals, to glockenspiel, to play for but a few bars. But it's the perfect sound to complete the ensemble (on several occasions I forgot I was actually watching a live orchestra, it sounded so perfect and fitted with the visuals so well, that it felt like the audio was a part of the video).
Unfortunately the venue didn't have the most comfortable seats long term, so I would have preferred seeing the intermission brought forward by a couple songs as the 2nd act was much shorter than the first (even with two encore performances). But overall I enjoyed the production. It provided a compact summary of many of the games, and allowed us to see the evolution of not only the graphics, but the musical capabilities throughout the game series history, with accompanying video commentary from the producers of the game. A highly recommended experience.
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