You can’t say no to an amazing adventure a second time around. The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest (that’s a mouthful) returned to Vancouver’s Orpheum theatre for an encore performance. As the first concert in 2012 was such a success, Nintendo and the event producers decided to add a “second quest” with a new selection of pieces from the Legend of Zelda video game series. For this adventure, conductor Susie Benchasil Seiter led the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and UBC Opera Ensemble Choir in a four-movement symphony that covered the land of Hyrule and its neighbours from the depths and into the skies.
The evening began with an early arrival at the Orpheum Theatre. My friends and I decided upon this for a few reasons: to purchase any souvenirs before the rest of the crowd and to catch some of the pre-show goodies like pictures with a life-size Link figure or game demos as were available last year. While we were able to snag the new concert poster and t-shirt, there weren’t any other attractions from Nintendo this time. Instead, we each pulled out our Nintendo 3DS hand-held consoles and continuously went through cleaning out the street passes we had collected. Almost everyone else in attendance had brought their consoles and were either eagerly checking their street passes or playing the new Pokemon X or Y game.
When the doors to the auditorium opened, we clambored for our seats to get settled in for the eight o’clock start. As the lights dimmed, everyone began cheering and whistling as Susie Benchasil Seiter walked out on stage to take her place at the front of the orchestra. With a swift movement of her arms, the journey back into the world of Link, Zelda, and Ganon began. The screen behind the stage lit up with a montage of scenes from games as familiar themes that we’ve all come to know and love filled our ears.
Unlike the first concert, Mrs. Seiter did not address the crowd as Eímear Noone had. Instead, creative producer Jerron Moore appeared on stage to provide a background on the concert, the songs and some neat information on the games, at one point flashing a gold copy of the original The Legend of Zelda cartridge. As The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening had just turned 20 a few months before, Moore asked the audience how many of them played the title on the original Game Boy before letting the conductor remind us of how big Koholint Island really was. While Game Boy graphics don’t look so nice on such a large screen, it was manageable with a frame of computer-generated scenes of sandy beaches, blue skies and a very familiar egg atop a mountain. I won’t lie, but I did tear up during the orchestral rendition of the Ballad of the Wind Fish.
As the evening progressed, we were treated to songs from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, complete with updated visuals from the recent high-definition re-release on the WiiU console. The UBC Opera Ensemble Choir sent chills down my spine with their vocals as the legend of the three Goddesses from Ocarina of Time played out around them.
After a brief intermission, we continued the musical journey through the Gerudo Valley before moving into the shadowy realms from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It was nice to finally hear some of the climactic boss battle themes; they’re full of energy, loud and gets the adrenaline flowing. How often had you heard the cacophonous tune blaring and not have had your palms sweat from trying to survive?
Of course, no evening at a concert is complete without a handful of encores. Starting off with The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (Mr. Moore wasn’t aware this was last year’s encore as well), the lands of Termina unfolded again with 72 hours flashing in front of our eyes and ears. With the everyone cheering for more, Mrs. Seiter hit the high seas with a stop at Dragon Roost Island from The Wind Waker. But there was still one last composition for the evening — the Ballad of the Goddesses from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
With Susie Benchasil Seiter at the helm of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the UBC Opera Ensemble Choir, I truly enjoyed my second trip through the lands and waters of Hyrule and its neighbours. The melodies were accurate and even took on their own characteristics with this wonderful orchestra. The only disappointing thing is that there is no official CD of the concert. I would definitely drop some cash (or rupees) on a CD and I know my friends would too. Here’s to hoping for a third reprise of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses in Vancouver.
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