This week and next week are going to be the two busiest weeks I’ll have for a while (or so I hope). Not only is it “Hell Week” for the pledges of the theatre honors fraternity Alpha Psi Omega, Gamma Gamma Cast, of which I am an alum, tomorrow night is a combination of an ABXY Game Night and PixelCon Live!, a concert held every year during our now three years old convention, PixelCon. This year, it’s being held as a separate event the night before the convention, both as an announcement to get people excited and to allow more events during the convention itself.
I’ll be visiting my theatre alma mater to see the pledges become members, singing in the concert tomorrow AND running two different panels during the convention. One will be about makeup and effects with my friend Lauren Liebe, the other will be a panel I run with several guests with opinions on Morality and Video Games, in which we talk about both moral choice systems created for games and how video games are discussed from a moral point of view in real life.
Tons of fun. But also, tons of work.
As such, since non-stop crunch time starts in about an hour for me, and since the political news has been a bit slow today, my posts are probably going to be pre-written pittances. …something I’ve totally never done before.
But this one is to help convince you to come to PixelCon Live! tomorrow night, if you live in Tuscaloosa, and try to persuade you to come to the convention on Saturday. Both are free to come to, so there’s not really much excuse. (Preregistration, which guarantees you a badge and swifter entrance, ends tonight at midnight. So go to it!)
Anyway, while I was unable to land a slot at Guerrilla Theatre this Saturday (I really need to learn to show up several hours before big events like that.), I will be singing as part of a vocal quartet with accompaniment on Friday at the concert, which starts at 7 p.m. in the Recital Hall of Moody Music Building. Which is on UA’s campus. The song we’ll be singing is one of my favorite pieces of music ever. No joke. It comes from the video game with one of the greatest soundtracks I’ve ever heard, Final Fantasy VI (released as Final Fantasy III in America originally, playable on both SNES and PS1). At one point in the game, it’s discovered that the dastardly devil Setzer (who is pretty much the coolest guy as you have the joy of learning when he joins your party eventually) plans to kidnap the leading lady of a certain opera. Your group decides to attempt to prevent it and, noting that one of the members of your party, Celes, looks terribly much like the aforementioned leading lady, decides to do a body swap.
So Celes must act out this part of the opera, “Maria and Draco.” The story is rather simple. Two kingdoms, the East and the West, are at war. The East has attacked the West, and the West attempts to defend itself. The hero of the West, Draco, is sent to the front lines, apart from his love, the princess of the Western kingdom, Maria. When the West loses and the East conquers them, Draco is presumed lost. Therefore, Maria is forced to marry the prince of the East, Ralse. During a ball, Western survivors of the battle attack, and Ralse and Draco duel. Ralse is killed, and Draco and Maria are reunited.
Keep in mind that this does take place during a much larger video game. It’s a simple, but sufficient, story.
At the height of the tension, as Maria pines for her lost love Draco (who I will be singing as) after her kingdom is invaded, she sings the “Aria di Mezzo Carattere.” An amazing feat for a game on the SNES, the song evokes just a wonderful, wistful sorrow and longing. It’s Nobuo Uematsu, prolific Japanese video game music composer (especially for Final Fantasy games), at his finest. This truly is one of my favorite pieces of music.
There are words to the song, but they’re not actually sung. You simply hear the voice in the form of “oh oh”s throughout the piece. So I won’t post the lyrics. Instead, I’ll give you two versions I enjoy very much.
“Aria di Mezzo Carattere” – Final Fantasy VI (Nobuo Uematsu) – This version is the original, ripped straight from the game.
“Aria di Mezzo Carattere” – Final Fantasy VI (Arranged and played by YouTube user lonlonjp) – This one, played on some classical acoustic guitar, lacks some of the depth of the strings and vocals from the original, but captures the simplistic beauty in it.
Give them a listen. I’m sure you’ll likely enjoy it.