Back in the 1980s, the notion of an orchestra playing music from video games would have been laughable. A flute flourish when the duck bites it on Duck Hunt? A violin crescendo when Frogger rides a crocodile off screen?
But not anymore. Modern video game music is getting a sophisticated treatment Saturday with rePLAY: Symphony of Heroes, a concert from the Florida Orchestra and the University of South Florida chamber singers. It's produced by Jason Michael Paul, whose show credits range from Luciano Pavarotti and the Three Tenors to the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda.
The orchestra put on a video games concert last year. It attracted a crowd mostly under age 30, a pretty rare feat for an orchestra constantly vying for new eyes and ears.
We're not talking doot-do-do-doot beeps of Super Mario bonking toadstools. These games have sweeping melodic scores and orchestral arrangements complex enough to rival any soundtracks to movies or theater.
If you plan to turn off the console and check out the show, here's what you need to know.
The sights: Scenes from video games will project on screens above the orchestra at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Think Link from The Legend of Zelda on a horse galloping across a plain, flutes fluttering as he leaps from a bridge into the valley below.
The sounds: In addition to typical orchestra instruments, expect things like a thunder sheet, friction mallets, crotales, tom toms, tam-tam, doumbek, vibes, marimba, casaba, glockenspiel, gongs, chimes and cymbals of all sizes.
The games: Guest conductor Amy Andersson will lead the musicians in works from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Journey, Guild Wars, Kingdom Hearts, BioShock, Lair, God of War: Ascension, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Portal 2, Metal Gear Solid 4, Chrono, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Lost Odyssey, Shadow of the Colossus and Halo.
The look: At the orchestra's video game performance in 2013, some people cosplayed their favorite characters. Isn't it a gamer's dream to hear symphonic selections from World of Warcraft while dressed as Malfurion Stormrage? Of course it is.
The show: Starts at 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. Tickets are $35-$45, or $100 for the VIP experience with a poster and T-shirt, redeemable at a meet-and -greet following the performance with the producers and conductor of the show. (727) 892-3337 or floridaorchestra.org.