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Demo #3 - Pamela's Arietta (Audio Makeover)

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV0dZnBHWn8[/embed] YES I KNOW SHE'S NOT AN OPERA SINGER

I still have no personal preference for child singers, but I have come to the conclusion that Pamela might have to be the exception to the operatic voice rule, even in the stage version. After some testing, there is no way to make her a convincing child character otherwise. The singer here is not a child, but played the part perfectly for the demo.

Assuming a staging, in the event that no children fit the part, Pamela might end up becoming a strange childish young woman (probably played by a soubrette), which is actually not that out of place in the strange land of Ikana.

Rest assured, despite my personal taste, I feel it is important that Pamela remains a child, so a good child singer is definitely going to remain plan A.

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Demo #8 - Majora's Aria

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T1NQ6pgyEA This footage was taken in July 2012. Took us long enough.

Big big thanks to Allegra Durante and Inês Quaresma.

Also, special thanks to Sofia Galvão, Billy, Mom0ki, Natasha Silvestre, Princess Rizu, Rachel Hillman, Siomara Zendejas, and Verónica Fragoso.

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On the Next Demos and Q&A #26

After several months, we finally have set dates to record with the singer we wanted for Kafei for the Clock Town Choir and Quartet demos. The first half of September will be dedicated to those recordings (as the choir part has been recorded for well over a year), along with the remaining footage for the Clock Town Choir demo. The completion of that demo will then depend on the time it takes to finish resampling the old instrumental and edit the video.

As for the Majora's Aria demo, singers are still being evaluated, and submissions are still welcome. We prefer to take the time we can to make sure we have as many entries as possible so we can choose from a wider pool.

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And now, to your questions:

Collin V.Just wondering… when you finish the opera, will you make the libretto available to the public? I love reading movie/play/opera scripts in my free time, and since Majora’s Mask is my favorite Zelda game, I’m very interested in reading this.

It's something I would like to do, yes, at least with the score (which includes the libretto). I even considered making an annotated version.

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MaraHi Miguel, I was just wondering. I made a fan poster of sorts for your opera. How can I get it to you? I will post it soon on deviantart, but I would like for you to see it very much. (Also, do you answer all these questions yourself? Or did you take the monkey from the Deku King, and now he answers all your questions?) xD

That's cool! :) You can e-mail it to me at mbulteau@gmail.com or just include the link in a comment here.

I do answer these questions myself, and as for the monkey, he's right next to me sipping on a coke. He's on a break from bursting out of closets and pointing menacingly at people.

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Chris JohnsonIs that Jesus in the background of the team photo?

We already have one Jesus, and that's the third guy in the photo. The guy in the far back is Liam Greenough, 4th member of the team, mentioned here. From front to back, you have me, Aaron Kline, Miguel Jesus and Liam Greenough. There is another photo with better focus on Liam, and I should probably post it around here. The latest interview has a black and white photo of us (at 15:14, if your browser doesn't like my timed link).

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Demo #6: Giant's Aria

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE0WYoHMKVw]

Best viewed in full screen.

After being released by accident due to Kafei's meddling in the swamps, the giant tells the story of his fellows and why Skull Kid is the way he is.

This is a demo of a projection that would happen on a stage's big screen, with the giant's life-size arrival and the imagery of the story he tells.

Animation by the talented Aaron Kline.

Many, many special thanks to Mr. Donald Frank. :)

EDIT: Old video no longer available. Makeover here.

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PUSHSTART Magazine and Q&A #20

Although this will only interest the Portuguese speakers, due to the obvious language barrier, it is nevertheless important to mention another interview by Portuguese online video game magazine PUSHSTART.

Thank you very much, Luís!

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We're slowly emerging from the wasteland of activity that August was. The animation for the Giant's Aria is proceeding slowly but steadily, much like a Giant, really.

Personal stuff stood in the way of my intended development, so I wasn't able to advance as much as I expected. As if that's new.

If I'm correct, the next days will vary between scarce updates and the eventual release of the Giant's Aria as demo #6.

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Now it's time for a Q&A:

Technotheif: A question for your Q&A: Will we see the Postman write the letter to himself? I feel that is a powerful and valuable scene that can stand alone, and the postman is already introduced.

Most definitely! I love that scene. It crept me out so much when I was little, yet I only understood the underlying neurosis years later. OCD at its darkest. The last day will have some snippets of the insanity that sweeps through the few that remain in Clock Town.

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Commander Majora: Will there be some way to incorporate time into the final stage product? When i imagine the on stage product, i think that above the stage there would be a clock. I’m just wondering if that will be important?

Time is definitely important, but it moves rather irregularly in the narrative. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower. My approach to time is that, besides each act being a day, you can hear the Clock Tower's bell announcing nightfall and sunrise. So each act is divided into day and night as well, but unlike the division into acts, this day/night division isn't proportional. It instead depends on the flow of the narrative.

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kram1032: Heh, I figured almost every stage work has optional stuff but the way you wrote about difficult staging and stuff felt like you’re concerned to make it work on pretty much any stage. – The whole thing. “Director’s Cut”, so to speak. Most likely, after a while it will be reinterpreted anyway, right? At least that’s what seems to be the fate of most staging works out there (Though what do I really know. I’m not exactly an expert on operas).

Everything gets reinterpreted. As long as I get a last say in terms of control, I'm fine with that. Improvements are infinite.

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Conman21100: I assume you will be using the Clocktown theme for the “Clocktown choir” in Act I (I believe you had mentioned that at one point), but I’m curious if you will be using all three variants of the Clocktown theme (a.k.a.-the Day 1 theme, the Day 2 theme, and the Day 3 theme) throughout the opera. Will each act have a scene in which the people of Clocktown are shown singing (using that day’s Clocktown theme) to express how they are changing in terms of their fears about the moon falling?

In a nutshell, without much detail, yes, that's the general idea. All three variants will be used, albeit not necessarily on the same people all the time. They will portray the emotions of the town as the moon nears, just like the original. Personally, I think it's a brilliantly simple move by Kondo that shouldn't go unused.

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PurplePeachXD: I was wondering, will Tingle be in this opera? Because unlike most people, I actually really like this character and I would find it so awesome if he would make an appearance! =D

I can't remember if I said this already, but since the Clock Town choir is its inhabitants, he will appear as part of it. He has no purpose in the story as a standalone character. Also, I exceptionally chose to use Purlo's clothes for Tingle, because DAMN.

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EponaHat: I realise you’ve answered many, many questions about Romani and Cremia, but I’m curious: have you considered including them in the ending where everyone takes shelter in the ranch (although I guess you may not be able to considering Anju stays in Clocktown)?

I love questions that answer themselves.

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Updates, another (audio) interview and Q&A #17

Once again we meet in this shady corner of the internet!

I have been interviewed again, with other questions. This time in audio format, and it will be broadcast over at the Windmill Hut at 7:00 PM PST on Wednesday the 25th of July. Thanks to Nova Amalak!

(Do not use the main flash stream, for it is buggy. Use the multi-player tune-in on the top left, or just directly choose a player below that.)

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Apart from that, here's what has been going on, for those who care to read:

The audio for the Clock Town Choir demo has been completely recorded, and is currently being mixed. We are still working around a way to make the video.

We're one day short of finally completing the audio for the Trio (Anju, the Postman and Anju's Mother), and I expect the video to be recorded as soon as possible. Although the date for that has not been specified yet, it will definitely be the next demo.

The recordings for another demo, a quartet between Kafei, the Monkey, the Deku King and the Deku Princess, have already begun.

The animation for the Giant's Aria is going well, as is the recording of its audio.

The video for Majora's Aria has also been recorded, yet the audio is not final. It might be the very last demo to come out, as the definitive audio is only expected to be ready at the end of August.

Those were the news on all five remaining demos.

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Now it's time for another short Q&A:

LinkinaMask: [referring to Demo #4]: The animation is good but how do you expect to take that to the stage?

The Deku would enter the swamp set, where Kafei has already been before this. The king would be the center of that sort of parade, while two stronger Deku would bring the squirming Monkey in and tie him to a pole like in the game. The planned sets allow for the cauldron to come in, although the Monkey would instead remain tied to the pole, as it is near impossible to sing well while upside down. As I have already said, the monkey doesn't die, so he is first left to "marinate" in the steam coming from the cauldron, while tied to the pole. They don't get to execute him due to the chain of events that follows.

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f(x)=12/x: Will Anju and Kafei have multiple musical themes, or a single one like Sakon? And, if you can tell, which are those? I know I could wait for the next demo with Anju, yet I couldn’t help asking.

Anju has an indirect connection to the Song of Storms, while they both share the theme of their marriage, which plays in the game in the end credits.

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f(x)=12/xWhat’s the name of the metallic-bongo-ish instrument that plays for more than half the demo (especially from 4:30 onward)?

You mean in Kafei's Dream, the instrumental? They're literally metallic pipes, of the sort you would find in sewers. Anything can be used as a percussion instrument, really.

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animesquirt: So for Kafei's Dream, is it JUST going to be a dance, or are lyrics eventually going to be added?

It is just a dance, yes. It's one of the opera's instrumental dance numbers, the longest, in fact. Another dance number has been uploaded a long time ago, the battle between Odolwa and the Deku. Each act is supposed to have one of these numbers.

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Promises... Promises can go but so far...

That's an actual line from the Happy Mask Salesman in the opera. :P

He came in the form of fate to punch me in the face, all while keeping that grin of his.

I came here to tell you that demo #4 cannot be the trio that was promised, due to factors ranging from the constant re-recordings to make sure it's good enough for a demo (I write some complicated melodic lines, I'm sorry) to the unfortunate fact that a singer had to drop out of the demo's production.

However, I do like to keep to schedules, so I had a plan B: Demo #4 will instead be a short choir that got ready way sooner than we thought it would.

As for being ready on Tuesday... Well, we can't have everything, can we?

The demo will be a simple animation, as it is too complicated to try to assemble all it needs in front of a screen as shadows, and it will serve as a (n awesome) placeholder for the music.

I don't expect it to come later than Sunday.

Apologies again.

Meanwhile, I have corrected serious issues with act 2's writing, and I am now struggling with Darmani with such tenacity that I'd punch him to death again if he ever crept on me, just for being such a pain.

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DEMO #3 - Pamela's Arietta

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNP6KdSKlQc]

As in the last arietta, the theme isn't developed on, just sung to. Like with most themes, development comes later on in the scene, which in this case is but sketched yet.

For those expecting more developed, flashy and dynamic stuff, be patient. Not everything is a showstopper. Demo #4 is expected to be a trio with quite the development, and if everything goes well, it will be flashy, dynamic and on time. :)

EDIT: Old video no longer available. Makeover here.

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FLASH ANIMATOR WANTED! and Q&A #6

Hello, internet. This is an official call for a flash animator

The potential one spoken of some time ago became unavailable, so I am calling for an animator who can work on a 10-minute long demo of silhouetted shapes (not only humanoid) on a simple texture background, corresponding to what is going on in the audio file. As they are silhouettes, the emphasis will be on the fluidity of movement. Apply by commenting here or sending me an e-mail.

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Now, before the regular Q&A, I feel I need to clarify some facts about the opera about which there have been several doubts and similar questions:

-- The opera is not just silhouettes. It is intended to be staged with actual sets, costumes, etc. It's just that I prefer to show these demos from behind a veil, as they are just samples, and focusing on the music. The original thoughts for the demos did not even involve filming them at all, and there are at least two of them for which filming will be tricky, if not impossible. But I am still open to the challenge. ^_^

As for the staging, I intend to avoid the flamboyancy of excessively bright colours in the cases where it would make the appearance too "costume"-y, if you know what I mean. What looks strange must look strange, not circus-like.

-- There is no specific crescendo of intensity or length in the release of the demos. Some are groups of soloists, like the first one, others are short ariettas that don't develop on the sung theme, others are longer arias, others are choirs, etc. They are released as they become ready. Every planned vocal demo is listed here.

Also, there is no specific characteristic in an aria or arietta besides the time it takes and the fact that it is by a soloist, just like for many other types of numbers in an opera. In a work that flows without interruptions, there are many times no clear divisions between numbers.

-- Several things will be revised as the project goes on, including whole batches of lyrics and even whole musical sections! I have a whole A4 page of errata for Act I, and that's not counting the orchestration issues. Right now, I'm focusing on finishing writing the opera and putting the main points where they belong. There will be several layers of revision at all levels it will have to go through before I can declare it truly complete.

-- Every offer of help in acting, singing, costume design, instrumental contribution, etc, is accounted for, deeply appreciated, but is to be considered at a later time, for as of this moment, the only thing that is happening is the writing and the showing of demos for the gathering of support and reactions. The more this spreads and gathers followers (and "likers"), the more possibilities it has of being upheld as something official and strong enough to be shown to Nintendo as a serious project, concerned with quality. And this brings us to the next topic:

-- Every offer of contribution with funding is also deeply appreciated. I will not, however, start asking for funding before knowing what can be done. There are plans to communicate with Nintendo about this, but I need to build a production dossier and be 100% ready to explain everything coherently and succinctly. This can only happen after the opera is written.

If everything goes right, the last notes will be put on paper by September. Only after I know what exactly can be done with this, how it will (or won't) be supported, and how far it can go can I know whether a crowdfunding platform will be needed or not. Until then, keep following! Your offers, advice and comments are all accounted for and I am very thankful for your enthusiasm. :)

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Now, on to the customary Q&A #6:

Person: Will the main groups of Majora’s Mask, the Deku, the Zora, and the Gorons appear?

All of those will appear, but due to the coherence of the narrative, some will appear more than others, I'm afraid. It isn't set in stone yet, but the ones with the least air time might be the Gorons. Sorry to the Goron fans, but it's either that or requiring detonation of disbelief as far as Kafei's abilities are concerned. Remember that we are focusing on him.

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Moblinarea: Who plays the background music? Is it actually instrumental or do you just make it?

Just like the instrumental samples up on YouTube, I make them. Actually having that amount of real instruments available to learn and play something every time you would need during a work in progress would be any composer's wet dream!

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A fan: When Sakon ‘whispers’: “Ssh! Someone’s coming this way!” and leaves, I begin to think, who is actually coming? Is it a guard or another poor citizen who will be robbed? Or who?

Is that a call for an answer, or just a declaration of suspense? =p

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Evan Brewer: How come this project isn't bigger?

At this phase, it is up to you, the community, to spread it as much as you can. I am still gathering strengths on certain demos to get the attention of the opera community, who will require a bit more than the ones so far, that have no operatic singing. As I explained at the beginning of this post, this can only grow at a bigger level once I know Nintendo's verdict. So spread it, like it, talk about it, promote it, if you intend to see it bigger and stronger for its showdown as a prototype for the eyes of Nintendo. For now, that is a great and appreciated help. :)

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Updates and Q&A #2

Three more demos have been recorded and are ready to be set to video!

The first is the Giant's aria. It was recorded at the time of the fugato, and requires a flash animation as an example of what is to be projected to describe the story the Giant is telling. It now has a potential animator who is working on it.

The second is Sakon's Arietta, which will probably be the first of the three to be shown.

The third is Pamela's Arietta. I wrote this snippet from Act III especially for the demo, and it was recorded this week.

As you can see by the progress bars on the right, I have started Act II, and this will be another weekend of nothing but writing. I am currently at the end of an aria that will lead into a duet, and then grow and grow into a trio, a quartet, and probably a quintet with choir, involving the Carpenters, Anju, Kafei, the Happy Mask Salesman, the Mayor and Majora.

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Some more questions have come to my attention:

whmurray11: Is this going to be more of an oral opera? Or will it include visuals as seen from the game?

If you mean whether it will use sets and costumes, I intend it to, and as close to the original as possible without compromising the work. I intend to sober up on the colours a bit to give it less of a "costume" vibe, but retain the looks to keep it surreal.

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luccafantuzzi: Please, can you post the lyrics in your site?

There will be a section dedicated to the opera alone on my website. The mask on the title page currently redirects to this blog, but will soon redirect instead to that section, which is almost ready for upload. It will have the lyrics to this first demo, as of any other that is released.

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soundwaveprimenerd: How do you plan to show Ikana without Link?

A good question! I believe you mean the actual ruins of Ikana, since Kafei and Sakon already seem to have access to the lower part of the valley. Well, if Pamela and her father already live up there, there must be a way up, no? Still, as the Happy Mask Salesman will also venture into Ikana shortly before Kafei, I believe a little bit of creative license can allow  for his mysterious powers to leave Kafei with an access of some sort, within the boundaries of common sense.

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