Nearly one year ago to the day, I visited the legendary Mann Center for the Performing Arts in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Founded in 1935, the lovingly named Mann Center has a rich history celebrating the love of music and artful performances. On July 24th of their 77th year, the Mann Center endeavored to earn another entry in the history books for transcending a vast temporal gap to facilitate the marriage of the most unlikely lovers with a common cause: the timeless art of symphonic orchestras and the infant video game industry. The Symphony of the Goddesses aims to show the world the unforgettable beauty and relevant significance of both, and delivers on all fronts. One year later on July 25th, 2013, The Symphony of the Goddesses took another shot at greatness with The Second Quest and met its mark with surgical precision!
Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest is the result of the hard work of a triumvirate of brilliant minds: The producer Jeron Moore, the composer Chad Seiter, and the conductor Eimear Noone. They, like the Goddesses of Hyrule themselves, brought together the power of music, the wisdom of many great artists, and the courage of three heroes to create a new world filled to the brim with whimsy and wonder just like the Hyrule we know and love dearly. Zelda fans across the globe are eternally grateful for the hard work and passion of all those involved.
The Second Quest begins when its conductor takes her position on stage at the helm of the overwhelming Philadelphia Orchestra, but she was not alone! Eimear Noone greeted the crowd in an emerald Jacket carrying a little Hylian in her belly. After a brief exposition and thunderous applause, Chad Seiter and Jeron Moore said a few words about the show before turning the reigns back over to Eimear to begin the music. Finally, the first overture began and I could so nearly hear the excitement of the crowd even through their respectful silence.
she was moving with such ferocity and passion that she almost appeared to be battling the enemies on screen at her pedestal
At this point, there are three focal points jockeying for attention on the stage to stimulate the audience visually. First, there was a large monitor suspended over the orchestra that displayed both scenes from Zelda games relevant to the music, and also live shots panning the action on stage. Secondly, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Choir had excellent stage presence. Their white uniforms and synchronized movements were impressive to behold and demanded respect on sight alone. Sitting so close, I could see the love in their faces not just for the music and not just for each other, but for Zelda as well. This was an abundant source of pride!
Thirdly, Eimear Noone’s own performance was mesmerizing. Despite her delicate physical condition, Mrs. Noone commanded the prodigious orchestra with a dance of great technical skill. She ambulated every jointed point of her body, leaning forward and back to urge the musicians on and carry their instrumental voices into the heavens. At several points, she was moving with such ferocity and passion that she almost appeared to be battling the enemies on screen at her pedestal. Her love of the material was maternal and evident by the smile on her face that grew as she first stepped out on stage and did not dissipate until long after she stepped out of the spotlight.
The structure of Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest was simple. Each movement was dedicated to a particular game in the Legend of Zelda series and featured an original arrangement of that game’s soundtrack. The scenes on screen followed the music chronologically through the game being explored and they complemented the music well. The uninitiated parents in the crowd could get a strong understanding of the source material just by watching and listening during a brief ten minute movement.
A concern for me from the show last year was not at all with the performers, but the audience who was largely unfamiliar with proper theater etiquette. It was common for an understandably excited audience member to incite cheers and applause during the music, which was as distracting as it was disrespectful to everyone else in attendance. Fortunately, the audience featuring many returning members was much better behaved this time around, with some exceptions during the second half of the show.
Despite that very minor complaint, Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest was incredible from start to finish. It is my opinion that they should have switched the positions of the fourth movement with the encore, but the effect was incredible regardless. It was an honor and privilege to be present at this event, and I strongly encourage fans of Zelda and music alike to attend. I would not hesitate to secure a ticket for a third time if per chance they revisit the area. To Jeron, Chad, and Eimear, if I may be so informal, you are my heroes and I will never forget the time we shared together. Thank you for giving me the gift of a lifetime.