Zelda Symphony dazzles Calgary’s video game community
New venue, same great show
By Brett Luft, Web Editor, and Bigoa Machar, Publishing Editor
It isn’t every night that you walk into the Jack Singer Concert Hall and you’re greeted with not only the typical suit and tie, but an unexpected sword, shield and green tunic. But that’s the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of Goddesses in a nutshell.
The Zelda Symphony arrived in Calgary for its nearly annual one-night show on Sept. 22, courtesy of Nintendo and Jason Michael Paul Entertainment. The four movement symphony celebrates the legendary Nintendo franchise by blending visual elements from the series with the stellar soundtrack from the games.
Jason Michael Paul, executive producer of the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, says the show has become a night for fans to remember year after year.
“This is everything, right,” Paul says. “You can feel the energy; you can feel the enthusiasm – it doesn’t get better than this.”
Paul says him and his team are looking to bridge the gap between people that normally wouldn’t watch a symphony and the older audience.
“It’s very diverse [in terms] of social-economic crowds, and of course the age [of our audience],” Paul says. And he’s right, too. The Zelda Symphony has become a generational experience, with some attendees bringing their grandparents, parents and own children to the event.
Some might find the symphony overwhelming, because it is unusual in the traditional sense of viewing an orchestra. The audience cheers when their favourite track gets played, and as the show wraps up others scream for one more song.
But it’s this abnormality that gives the Zelda Symphony its character. Video games have often been a medium of protest against societal norms, as much of the technology industry was built on the backs of individuals trying to prove their superiors wrong.
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses embraces its weirdness as its greatest strength. During the movement dedicated to the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, the conductor uses the titular prop from the game to command the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
The result is a cheesy fan-service moment that gets the crowd excited about what comes next. The prop has become a symbol of sorts for the Zelda Symphony brand, and concert-goers even seek the opportunity to take it home.
Paul hopes that the Zelda Symphony inspires more events like it, because he understands the need for changes in the what young people are interested in. As time progresses, a stronger need develops to connect with new generations.
“At the end of the day [the goal is] to really create a project that bridges the gap,” Paul says. “And make [symphony] more accessible to a younger audience.”