Zelda fanatics are ready to invade Barclays.
Video games and symphony orchestras rarely have much in common. However, when it comes to a beloved Nintendo franchise with a hefty music catalog, all bets are off.
“The Legend of Zelda”, released in 1986, captured the imaginations of children and adults all over the world with its innovative gameplay and graphics. In addition, the game’s different theme songs played during the journey became a staple in gaming.
The Zelda franchise has spawned many sequels. With improved technology came more sophisticated music. The library of instrumental songs grew, from boss battle themes to powerful and emotional scores for the quieter scenes.
Seeing there was an audience for the timeless tunes, a concert was created in 2011 to celebrate the first game’s 25th anniversary. The songs were performed by a full orchestra with video footage of several games playing on a giant screen throughout the show. “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess” was created.
Producer and avid Zelda fan Jason Michael Paul says it was meant to be a temporary run. “It was supposed to be just a three concert series. We did them London, Tokyo and Los Angeles for the 25th anniversary and it turned into a touring production for the last four years,” he said.
As fans’ appetites grew, so did the production. In 2012, the concert toured North America. “We’ve had phenomenal success,” Paul said. “There is a huge network of Zelda fans throughout world. The concert is straightforward and easy to enjoy.”
Over the years, Paul has noticed the diverse nature of the audience. “We have people in their mid-thirties that come to capture some of their youth. We also have an audience of seven-year-old kids who also love the show,” he said.
In January 2015, Amy Andersson became the conductor for the current tour. “I was very interested in the idea of video game concerts. It was my first experience and I thought it was a fantastic idea,” she said. “Along with the U.S., we’ve performed in several countries so far, such as Canada, Mexico, Sweden, France, Germany and Italy.”
In addition to the popularity of the brand, the songs performed by the orchestra keep fans engaged. “This is music that is ingrained in their memories. They are catchy melodies,” said Paul.
“It’s is one of the most beloved video games of all time,” Andersson added. “The music is a universe unto itself. When you play the game, you feel the music is so unique because it’s layered with all types of emotion.”
Andersson believes that the concerts could convert gamers into fans of orchestra. “I would speculate that a large percentage of the audience have never been to a symphony orchestra concert,” she said.
Both Paul and Andersson are thrilled to bring the experience to Brooklyn for the first time. “The music has stood the test of time. It’s an art form and it has a place in a concert hall,” said Andersson. “Fans have been crazy about these games for a long time so when they hear and see it come to life in a full orchestral version, it’s spectacular.”
“My favorite part is just seeing the fans’ reactions and watching different generations of families with children create memories,” said Paul.
“The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Master Quest” will be performed at the Cushman & Wakefield Theater at Barclays Center on Tuesday, October 13 at 8 p.m. For tickets, visit www.barclayscenter.com.