The music of Zelda is as iconic as the game’s themselves, it’s music is soulful and inspiring, and as an appropriate reaction to these emotions elicited, a full orchestral reimagining of the score is coming to the Sydney Opera House.
Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses promises to be an orchestral experience like no other. Jason Michael Paul, the producer and creator of the show, had the idea to bring the past 30 years of Zelda into the modern era, by combining a full orchestra with multimedia and visual elements for a fully immersive experience.
I sat down the show’s creator and producer, Jason Michael Paul, to discuss the show, and how it came about.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Shay: Could you describe the concept of the show, what is the show about?
Jason: The legend of Zelda is now 30 years old, what I’ve put together is a retelling of The Legend of Zelda through the music and visuals from the game, with a reimagined score from the Legend of Zelda music. We have a perfectly synced presentation with the Legend of Zelda’s visuals, and have integrated the performance by the musicians super finely into a beautiful presentation. It’s a 5-movement symphony, with interludes that represent the breath of the wild, and as a part of the movements, we’ve included a brand-new movement from Skyward Sword. We last performed here in 2013, and this is an entirely new show now in 2017.
Shay: How did the show come about?
Jason: I started my career in opera and rock and roll doing a lot of stage management for acts like Outkast, Foo Fighters, Elton John, and I worked with some of the best orchestras in the world, like the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Phil, and the London Symphony Orchestra. What inspired me was Final Fantasy, it was the first concert I ever did, in 2004, while I was living in Tokyo. I was really immersed in Final Fantasy and the game company Square, who created final Fantasy, and that’s where I had the idea that if I can create a concert with the music from the video games, and a visual presentation to coincide with that, then I would be the first one to do that, that’s what I set out to do and that’s what I did. Now here we are in 2017, 13 years later, and we’ve been doing it with the Legend of Zelda for the last 5 years.
Shay: You’ve already had a few shows in America before you made your way to Australia, what has the reception been like?
Jason: It’s been amazing, it’s the most popular project I’ve ever worked on. We’ve had an amazing amount of support from the Zelda fan community and we’ve been eternally blessed to be able to create something for both the fans of The Legend Of Zelda, and those that aren’t. A lot of people are just passionate about the concert series whether they’re fans of Zelda or not, they can appreciate the music and the artistry of the video game itself, we really tried to create something than can appeal to all walks of life.
Shay: What was the process like of converting the original music to an orchestral score?
Jason: It’s definitely not easy, but the themes from The Legend of Zelda really lend themselves to a big dramatic score, something can could easily be adapted, what we’ve done is taken those blips and bleeps and we’ve created a reimagined Hollywood style, imagine The Legend of Zelda meets John Williams, that’s what we tried to create and we’ve been able to do that, and the legend of Zelda music in its original form really lends itself to that, so you’re going to hear a lot of brass, a lot of percussion, lots of instruments that really create that Hollywood sound, very bombastic, very big sounds, and with 66 musicians and 24 voices, we’re able to delivery that big orchestra sound.
Shay: Now you’ve said the music isn’t the entire show, there are also visual elements, can you explain what you’ve done with that?
Jason: When we create these pieces, we create the music, then edit the visuals to the music so it’s in perfect sync, so everything that’s done in terms of the video editing is in time with the music, and that’s how we treat and come up with the visual elements, what we’ve done is created various backgrounds and created almost music videos if you will, we are able to go back and forth between gameplay, FMV (full motion videos), the orchestra, and testimonial videos from the likes of Shigeru Miyamoto, the series producer Eiji Aonuma, Nintendo music director Koji Kondo, and other elements that round out the presentation, everything is very timely and cohesive and there’s never a wasted moment, you’re always watching something that’s stimulating you on the big screen.
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is showing at the Opera House Concert Hall on the 29th of October.
For tickets and further information: https://zelda-symphony.com/