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 Majora's Mask Opera 
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Hylian Squire
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Post Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:22 am
Hi. I'm M. Bulteau (Berlioz, around here). I'm a composer/writer, and I have my work online:

www.mbulteau.com

Far from being here to spam you, take that as a portfolio for your reference towards what I would like an opinion on from the community.

I have long delved into the depths of Majora's Mask dramatic possibilities, and being a composer/writer I am currently considering (after having enough material to start) creating a stage work of Majora's Mask, something big, serious (as in, professional), powerful and with one or two modifications that I assure change nothing of the story's core concepts at all. In fact they bring out the drama in full and allow for a stable adaptation to stage, instead of the many flaws that arise from taking a game structure into a dramatic set without the necessary reconstruction.

Musically speaking it would also avoid reducing itself to medley form. I would try my best to develop on every theme, taking them as bases to be grown on and to make a complete and organic work, instead of a patched-up musical track.

I would need to gather up all the available resources to write a score that would please me and all the other Zelda fans.

The hardest part would obviously be, afterwards, attempting to contact the actual composer, showing the product, and asking for his approval, perhaps his support, in having the work built and brought to life, for we all know an artist trying to climb always needs help from above, especially if they are using the work of those above as a vital basis. It is always a win-win situation, since artistic reinterpretations of any established medium always validate its existence further (a.k.a. mutual advertisement et al.).

I have my original work, both writings and compositions, as evidence of what I can do, and I am usually not one to make these kinds of adapted projects, but Zelda is something that has always fascinated me, and Majora's Mask is the one that always dug deepest.

I would like to know if the community would be interested in seeing such a project built.

Cheers,

M. Bulteau

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Hylian Squire
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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:25 am
I come to show signs of activity and inform you that I have completed the first half-hour of the opera, and that you should expect samples with actual vocals somewhere in January.

For now, I give you instrumental samples from several parts of the still unfinished Act I.

Keep in mind that they're mostly just orchestrations of original themes because the real development usually happens with the singers (which is usually where I cut between the themes here, because there is no actual voice sound but a digital instrument emulating it, and we all know how those suck).

The only thing mildly "developed" in this sample is the superimposition of a modified Kafei and Anju's marriage theme (will be used as the leitmotif for their hope) on the Astral Observatory theme, along with some quotes from the Song of Healing (leitmotif for promisekeeping and obviously the Happy Mask Salesman).





By the way, for those who enjoyed my website's music, I only recently noticed my media players in the site's Works section were all down. I've put in new ones and there's much more music to listen to in that section than the 9 sample tracks on the home page.

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:02 pm
I'll be the first to admit that, having seen the outpouring of half-assed projects from the rest of the Zelda Community save for a few gems, I was rather skeptical that this would be any good.

I'm glad to say that I was sorely mistaken on that account. The music so far sounds wonderful, even with the synthetic orchestra (which doesn't sound bad at all, in my opinion). I'm not much of a fan of opera, but having heard those samples I look forward with eagerness to the completion of yours. Keep it coming!

Edit: Stickied for great justice.

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:00 pm
Saw this earlier, but I was on my 3DS and it doesn't show YouTube videos. I guess I should've hurried over to my laptop quicker.

I agree with DL that the synth isn't bad at all; obviously it'd be even better with actual instruments, but as it is now it's still excellent.

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Hylian Squire
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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:54 am
Thank you for the comments so far.

When I said the synths suck I meant the voice-emulating ones, which are obviously not part of those snippets. It's a lot of hard work to make the instrumental ones sound balanced enough, and that's why what I write on the virtual score isn't exactly what will be written on the paper one (i.e. if I want a strong passage to be played I sometimes have to exaggerate on the dynamics as if I were asking the instruments to blare out enormous amounts of sound, when in reality a weaker dynamic marking would do the job in a real orchestra).

No software is perfect, so once I'm done with the entire virtual sound file I'll have to "clean up" the entire score note by note to make it accurate for a real orchestra. Just thinking about that gives me a headache. x_x

For the vocal parts in the virtual sound files I just use piano sound to know what the voices are singing, so having repeated piano notes kinda out of orchestral context without any actual words would be uninteresting to show. The samples with actual vocals I'm planning to record in January are the Clock Town choir and Kafei's first solo on his predicament.

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:08 am
I am fully aware of the fact that I might be bombarded with flames, and I am expecting it because although the modifications involved in the setting of the work to stage do not change the story's core concepts at all, as I said, they do alter something quite important for those who take refuge on the heroic deed of a single individual (Link).

*prepares for the flame*

I have put enough thought on this (took me a while), and there is a difference people have to understand exists between media.

A book is a book. A movie is a movie. A game is a game. A stage drama/opera is a stage drama/opera.

The intensity of a stage drama comes from the concentration of the attention in a specific character or group of characters and the things that affect them. They can be related to something bigger, obviously, but it still has to restrict itself to a group that is small enough to build up the amount of weight it needs.

The reason a game like Zelda can't be adapted to stage at 100% in every single aspect is because a game is built as an interactive medium. A game like Zelda lives on diversity and exploration.

I chose Majora's Mask for a reason: In all of its diversity, Majora's Mask has the ability to captivate through the personal anguishes of the inhabitants of a dying world. Now, turning it into a never-ending list of equally important woes would be static and unimportant, and here is the key issue: So would turning a mute heroic character into a chore-handler for a world with living, thinking and feeling individuals.

For what I suggest, I ask for understanding from the part of the community in that I am convinced that I can heighten the theatrical power of such a world and what it is experiencing through this simple yet key modification:

Link is absent.

It is a what-if cautionary tale to the world of the audience (like Ikana was to the rest of Termina) telling of Termina's fate without the intervention of a savior, a Deux Ex Machina in Hylian form.

The core concepts remain the same, as I've said. The story revolves around promises, the whole world's mechanic and sense is exactly the same.

But this little big change allows me to make a humanistic injection of character build-up in the largest and best known side-quest of all Zelda games: Kafei and Anju.

By centering the story on Kafei and Anju, I can make it that Kafei's quest for the retrieval of the Sun Mask and the fulfillment of his promise comes out of his own accord, his own effort, and provide a fluid narrative of his tracking of Sakon and his treasure. The struggle of a last promise in a world fated to be destroyed.

Don't think Skull Kid and the mask Salesman will be undermined, on the contrary, I expect the Salesman to be a very important guide to the events in Termina and cross paths with Kafei later on, as he is the responsible for taking the mask to avoid disaster and then having Skull Kid steal it from him.

As I said above, a game is a game, and a game's diversity is made for interaction. In an opera, that diversity becomes harmful. It becomes dispersion. My aim is to make a big, serious and most of all effective work out of Majora's Mask, and you can take my word on the respect I have for canon. So much that instead of modifying or harmfully cutting Link's diverse actions to adapt the work, I would rather make it keep its sense simply by letting Termina exist nearly unchanged.

I understand and humbly accept all the flaming that might erupt from the canon-centered community, but I am sure of my abilities to make a bittersweet cautionary tale out of Majora's Mask for our own world to see. Zelda fans or not. And if it wishes, to compare to our own dangerously decreasing sense of trust and faith in people.

I ask of you the same sort of trust: What concerns me in this project will not disappoint.


And now, here's an instrumental for a dance sequence. It's a battle that happens between the Deku and Odolwa. It might sound strange, yes, but all I can say so far is that in the story it is a consequence of giving Kafei a boost in his search for the Sun Mask.


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Last edited by MBulteau on Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:03 am
The idea of Link remaining absent seems like it could open quite a few doors as far as artistic freedom, and I'll be the first to say that I'm not opposed to it at all. I think it's either going to be a hit or miss idea, but based on what we've seen from you so far I don't believe we'll be disappointed.

Love the latest piece, by the way. I would suggest perhaps adding in a few more "forest sounds" (like the tambourine you've included that Zelda players commonly associate with the Lost Underwoods), seeing as the boss music in Majora's Mask was largely repetitive; I feel it would add some depth to the feel of the scene, especially for those listening to the opera on an Mp3 player or what-have-you. For me, the latest piece felt like it switched back and forth between Gyorg and Odolwa (although I felt like that in the original game as well).

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:44 pm
Well... Gyorg and Odolwa's battle themes are the same...

In fact, all the bosses of Majora's Mask share the same theme.

As far as forest sounds go, I do add the tambourines when the Deku start getting the upper hand in the fight, and their theme gets crossed with Odolwa's and rises in power until they are clearly in advantage. I like to show the original theme once in full if possible before developing on it, sometimes even before having song on it, it's the method I use most of the time.

This battle dance sequence will probably be stretched a bit, I'm aiming for no more than 5 minutes. But this stretch would include the non-fighting Deku choir singing over the original theme (in a developed way, obviously, since there is not enough decent melodic material in this theme).

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:29 pm
Very interesting idea, and equally well execution so far. Looks promising. Keep us posted, for sure.

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:02 pm
I am. Here's an instrumental for the short celebration after Odolwa falls to the Deku, interrupted by the appearance of the Giant that is freed as a consequence.

Everything that follows is the background instrumental for the Giant's aria, so pardon the repetitiveness, since there are words to be sung over it.

It develops into other harmonies past the middle.


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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:56 pm
Just informing that the vocal samples will be late. I had said they would appear somewhere in January.

Well, it seems the date we managed to set up for ONE (hopefully two) of the recordings is two Sundays from now.

So... sorry about the wrong prediction.

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:57 pm
No rush, man. Thanks for the music preview in the meantime. It's...wow.

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Hylian Squire
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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:53 pm
Just to let you know, the Clock Town choir vocal sample was recorded today. I will probably only have access to the WAVs on Wednesday.

The choir is split in half by Kafei's recitativo, which, along with the Mayor's Council Room fugato, is intended to be recorded in two weeks.

I'm rehearsing the latter tomorrow morning.

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:27 am
To the explanation-mobile!

As you remember, samples were promised some time ago. Well, they were recorded. It was the Clock Town Choir. There were some setbacks that made the recordings unusable, so other methods had to be used (live and learn).

It became faster to skip ahead to the next sample while the first was being redone, so here it is:



This is a demo, and as such the singers who kindly helped with its making are not professional opera singers. If you like what you hear, imagine what a real opera could do with it!

Other demos will follow. Faster, this time. Stay tuned. I will soon open a blog to organize all of this.

P.S: Mind the accents. xD

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Post Re: Majora's Mask Opera • Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:58 am
Berlioz you are God Tier.


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