Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses LIVE REVIEW and EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW | Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts | July 18, 2015

by • August 17, 2015

Some things are inexplicable, especially when trying to describe how the passionate energy of a speechless, universal language spills forth with the emotionally charged power of a world class symphony orchestra. What’s more is when it’s flawlessly reproducing the soul-resonating songs of such a timeless video game series. I wish I could perfectly express everything I felt inside as I watched the live performance of the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, but even with an abundance of time and all of the words of the English language at my disposal, it is difficult at best to fully capture all the wondrous sights, sounds, and moods that I experienced. I was much more inspired than I could have ever expected.

My first impression of the night was the giddiness I felt when I entered the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for my first time ever. There was a refined air of grandeur that, to me, was comparable to being inside a brand new, fully-loaded luxury car, but on a much larger scale. This new Orlando venue is a magnificent work of art from the inside out and the staff was very regal and professional as well. Above all, the theater itself is truly spectacular. Even with a view from Row X (that sounds far back doesn’t it?), I could see and hear everything crystal clear. Just … wow!

There was little wait before the lights dimmed. The show began with an overture that included a visual of Link, our green-suited, elvish hero from Zelda, taking a running leap from a cliff and falling through clouds like a skydiver into the Kingdom of Hyrule. It was a fitting way to begin this roller coaster ride through his many adventures in parallel universes and different time periods.

After the overture, the show’s producer, Jason Michael Paul, delivered a fantastic preamble to the show by introducing us to its conductor, Amy Andersson, as well as the orchestra—our very own, Orlando Philharmonic! We were encouraged to loudly express our excitement so it could be heard by the musicians and boost the spirit of the performance. We, of course, responded with roaring applause and cheer. We were all ready to press ‘Start’ and begin this Master Quest!

(An interview with producer Jason Michael Paul and conductor Amy Andersson will be included at the end of this review!)

INTERVIEW: Producer, Jason Michael Paul and Conductor, Amy Andersson

And with that, we were greeted with a video message from the Legend of Zelda’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. He explained how the music and gameplay has grown up together over time, much like the growth of Link as a character through his adventures. From its original form, where music was merely a primitive, 8-bit soundtrack, to developing into a central item of the game in Ocarina of Time, music has become an essential part of the series. Mr. Miyamoto was keen to point out that the music is the main reason so much of the games’ experiences are memorable. He welcomed us to enjoy that music in the performance of Symphony of the Goddesses.

Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Live Review and Interview

Without further adieu, the show went on. Gameplay footage from just about every Zelda title (maybe even all of them) were sequenced together like a video collage to portray a much larger, overarching story. There were triumphantly galloping anthems of adventurous spirit, melodies that giddily frolicked in the forests, fiery battle songs that thundered and soared to courageous heights with ominous choir vocals, delicate lullabies that floated with the grace of fairies, merry dancehall tunes, somber temple chants, bittersweet passages that related the heartwarming/wrenching sentiments of love, and so much more that mere words cannot do justice. For me, Symphony of the Goddesses captured all the nostalgic feels and themes that the games encompass.

I was especially pleased with the way the song selections were carefully chosen and dynamically paced, adding a natural rise and fall to the journey. The performance was so moving it actually gave me chills and made my eyes gloss over at times.

Just about every time a new song began, the whole audience erupted in joyous cheer. For me, it brought back a flood of warm memories of sitting in front of my TV set at home imagining that I was a warrior on a mission to rescue a princess and save the world.

As I said before, it’s hard to put into words, but there’s a magical quality that a symphony orchestra emanates. It’s the way the energy moves in mesmerizing waves through all the musicians in sync with the motion of the conductor’s wand. It’s the way the light gleams from the elegant brass and fine, polished wooden instruments as they animate, producing soulful tones with expert finesse. It’s the way the flutes flutter through a weaving mix of rising strings and a crescendo of timpani drums and the way a chorus of “ah’s” make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. It’s the way the subtle finger plucks of a pair of harps turn the room into a splendidly majestic space where time seems to stand completely still.

I could go on, but mere words just won’t convey the experience, especially for Symphony of the Goddesses. This was one of my favorite shows of the year and it was a nice change of pace from the kinds of shows I normally go to.

One of the other reasons I loved attending this concert was the for cosplay from fans that showed up. I enjoyed seeing all the different Legend of Zelda t-shirts and especially everyone that went all out and dressed up as characters from the series.

Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Live Review and Interview

Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Live Review and Interview

I hope you will check this out show for yourself in the future if it continues, but even if it doesn’t, I feel confident in recommending anything that producer Jason Michael Paul or conductor Amy Andersson are doing for their next tour. There should be plenty of other great opportunities to see the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra perform as well.

As I mentioned earlier, here are the interviews with producer Jason Michael Paul and conductor Amy Andersson. I hope you will enjoy their responses as much as I did. It was a great honor to have the opportunity to reach out to them and gain some their insight. 🙂

Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Live Review by Sean Dorsett, edited by Matthew Weller

INTERVIEW: Producer, Jason Michael Paul and Conductor, Amy Andersson from Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.

Legend-of-Zelda Interview

SIGT: Amy, what can you tell us about this show in comparison to other shows you have conducted in the past?

A: I worked with Jason last year conducting his video game show Replay: Symphony of Heroes. It was a great experience and lead to my current engagement with Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses. The previous show was a compilation of video game music from a variety of games featuring different composers, which gave the show a unique feel to it.  The Legend of Zelda show contains music just from this game, so it has a very cohesive and comprehensive musical feel to it.


SIGT: Do you have any advice for others who aspire to pursue similar career paths?

A: Conducting for me it is not a career path, but a calling. I aspired to become a conductor at an early age and studied music intensively many, years.  After receiving a Master’s degree in Orchestral conducting I worked hard for ten years in Germany, conducting opera and orchestra.  I toured and did productions in several countries while gaining a great of experience and wisdom about the art of conducting.  My advice to anyone would be, “Find what you love and invisible hands will guide you.” You will find your way to express your passions and talents if you stay connected to your heart and intuition. 

Find what you love and invisible hands will guide you.”


SIGT: Is there anything else you would like to share with the world or shamelessly plug?

A: My eldest son died tragically in January 2015.  It is serendipitous that the Legend of Zelda was his favorite video game.  I carry him in spirit wherever I conduct Zelda, and I feel he is with me when I tour.  Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess were among his favorite games, and there are special moments musically where I feel the two of us connect.  These moments are times of great honor for me.


SIGT: Jason, what interested you the most about producing a Legend of Zelda show specifically?

J: I’ve been a fan of the series for the last 29 years. It’s such an iconic, beautiful series, I figured fans would want another avenue to experience the game that they hold so dear.


SIGT: How did you get involved producing The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses?

J: It started out with Nintendo asking me to produce the opening for the E3 press event at the Nokia Theatre in 2010. I produced three concerts in London, Tokyo, and LA as part of the 25th Anniversary series of concerts, and I also produced the Orchestral CD that was included as part of the bundle with Skyword Sword. After the success of the 25th Anniversary concerts I came up with a touring show, Symphony of the Goddesses, and the rest, as they say, is history.


SIGT: Do you have any relationships with Nintendo? If so, was it difficult to arrange a license for such a huge franchise as the Legend of Zelda?

J: Nintendo has been nothing but supportive. All the arrangements and gameplay you see on stage has been approved and blessed by the original creators at Nintendo, so we’re very confident this iteration of Zelda is the one they want you to see and enjoy.


SIGT: What do you love the most about this concert series?

J: The fans! The fans are absolutely the best part – cosplaying, meetups, making new friends. It’s surreal to bring a digital experience to real-life and see people engage and interact the way they do at the Zelda Symphony.


SIGT: What plans do you have for the future of this series? Are there any other game series performances in the works?

J: Right now we have our heads down and focused making Master Quest the ultimate Zelda experience it can be for fans, but we’re always looking ahead! We hope to have some “what’s next” news to share soon!


SIGT: I am very much inspired by the kind of work you both are doing. Do you have any advice for others who aspire to pursue similar career paths?

J: Pursue your dreams and always look for ways to improve.


SIGT: Is there anything you would like to share with the world or shamelessly plug?

J: We love our fans and hope you can come see us in a city near or far to you! Subscribe to the Zelda Symphony newsletter (found on our website homepage) to stay up to date for new concert dates, merchandise and more!


Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Interview by Sean Dorsett

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