The video game The Legend of Zelda was first released by Nintendo in the 1980s. During the nearly 30-year history of the Zelda franchise, Nintendo has released a number of sequels, growing an ever-ardent fan base.
And now, fans of the game can step away from their consoles and enjoy the cultural icon on a whole new level. The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is a touring concert that comes to Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore tonight. Executive Producer Jason Michael Paul says it's the first time a four-movement symphony has been created for a video game.
"It's never been done the way that we've done it," he says. "We have a 66-piece orchestra. We have a 24-voice choir. It's almost 100 musicians on stage."
The concert also features visual accompaniment from the game. Chris Melissinos, the guest curator for The Art of Video Games exhibition, which originally showed last year at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, says video games are one of the most inclusive and comprehensive forms of art.
"When you look at video games, within them you can see illustration, composition, narrative, orchestration, sculpture," he says, "all of these things that if we remove them, the individual component, then put it on a pedestal or hang it on a wall in a museum we say 'ok, that's art.'"
Melissinos says that music is an integral part of the video game experience.
"Take the musical score out of a movie, tension is gone. Heightened awareness is gone. Action is gone," he says. "The music fills in that additional voice that describes to the observer what is happening in the space and how they should react to it."
Both Paul and Melissinos say you don't have to be a Zelda fan to enjoy the music.
"This is just a spectacle. It's something to be seen," Paul says. "You walk away with an appreciation for the game and also the artistry of video games."
The current production isn't the same show that starting touring two years ago, but rather an adapted version that reflects new developments in the Zelda franchise.
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is produced by Jason Michael Paul Productions and features an orchestral score approved by Nintendo sound director and Zelda franchise composer, Koji Kondo.