Words by Marie-Claire Taylor
Gamers and a night out at the symphony. It’s one of those pairings that shouldn’t work but just does.
On 14th August, at ASB Aotea Theater, you can witness The Legends of Zelda: Goddess Symphony, a program of symphonic music based on the popular Nintendo game Legends of Zelda. The Zelda concert consists of highly crafted classical music that now features in video games. It’s not what the bleeping of 80s arcade machines that maybe you might expect.
Bringing new audiences to the concert hall is the purview of Legends of Zelda promoter Jason Paul. Formerly the force behind the Three Tenors, Paul again takes classical music to new places, with a unique orchestral music concept. There are film scores. There’s the concert hall symphony. With the Legends of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, there’s now the game symphony.
The concert program charts 30 years of the game’s existence, with some numbers corresponding to a different version of the Legends of Zelda. Like a live film score orchestra performance, there’s a screen that sits behind a symphonic orchestra and choir. On the screen, the visual material charts the progression in game graphics through the decades, culminating in content from the latest Zelda release, Breath of the Wild, released earlier this year. Rather than the musicians assisting in the storytelling, as would happen in a film score, they dominate the narrative. Themes can be found throughout the music associated with different Zelda characters from the game and transform throughout the program.
Social media on The Legends of Zelda: Symphony of Goddess show a live music night like no other. Because of the popularity of the game, there is a rock concert atmosphere. Fans turn up in droves to see how this realisation of their favourite game turns out. There are even those who dress up for the occasion in Zelda character costumes. The composer and conductor hype up the crowd between movements, to be met with loud, enthusiastic applause. Occasionally, there’s even laughter – the 90s platform game version of Zelda does look pretty amusing these days!
For those who feel the concert hall and symphony orchestras are not for them, The Legends of Zelda: Goddess Symphony might be a good place to start. You can even dress up like it’s the Sevens! A team of Super Mario Bros anyone?