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Opera "Maria and Draco"

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CelesMaria2

Celes impersonating Maria.

FFVI Draco

The Opera Maria and Draco is an event in Final Fantasy VI and the collective name of a set of four tracks, written by Nobuo Uematsu and Yoshinori Kitase, featured in the game's original soundtrack, later released as a single track in multiple album compilations. It is sometimes referred to as The Dream Oath, though this title is never used in the game or in any of the compilations.

The four tracks that play during the sequence are "Opening," "Aria di Mezzo Carattere," "The Wedding," and "Grand Finale?".

In the game's original Japanese version the music is closely aligned with the lyrics, although because of technical limitations the "voices" are created on the SPC700 sound format.

The "Aria di Mezzo Carattere," one of Final Fantasy's most famous musical themes, is performed within the opera.

The development team had an idea to include an opera scene and Yoshinori Kitase wrote lyrics for it, while Uematsu composed the music. Translator Ted Woolsey found the opera scene unique and interesting and thus spent plenty of time on that scene; the scene had multiple files that combined to provide the experience: battle texts, the opera text displayed during the different cinematics, and the usual screen text all had to work in concert.[1]

In GameEdit

FFVI Celes Sings Opera iOS

The opera.

To establish contact with Setzer, the owner of the only functional airship in the World of Balance — the BlackjackCeles impersonates the opera singer Maria, with whom Setzer is in love. Although Celes successfully poses as Maria for the majority of the opera, Locke discovers during the performance that Ultros is planning on dropping a weight on Celes from the rafters.

The attempt to stop him ends with Locke, his allies and Ultros plummeting to the stage, knocking the actors playing Ralse and Draco unconscious. Locke thus attempts (and somewhat succeeds) to improvise this into the opera, and after battling Ultros, Setzer kidnaps Celes as per the original plan.

The opera also features a small game element. Three times during the opera the player has to pick the correct line for Celes to sing. Failing to do so will stop the opera, and the player must do a new attempt; it is easy to guess which line is the correct one, however. Although if one "overthinks" the line to be chosen, the game will automatically select the highlighted line after a couple of seconds. The lines to be chosen are the first, then the second, and then the first one again.

StoryEdit

The Dream Oath

Artwork by Yoshitaka Amano.

The armies of the East are battling the forces of the west. The hero of the western army is Draco, who is in love with the western princess, Maria. When the west loses the war and Draco is presumed lost, Maria is forced to marry the eastern Prince, Ralse.

During a ball, the survivors of the west, led by Draco, launch a surprise attack. A duel ensues between Draco and Ralse, in which the latter is defeated and Maria and Draco go on to live happily ever after.

LyricsEdit

The opera has been arranged and performed live in its entirety numerous times, both in English and Japanese. Its lyrical content has varied accordingly, although it is possible to determine five different versions of it:


The Black Mages III: Darkness and StarlightEdit

"Darkness and Starlight" is a rock arrangement of Maria and Draco included in the Black Mages' third studio album The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight. Because the opera scene in the game ends abruptly with Celes's kidnapping just before Draco and Ralse's duel, the whole lyrical content was unknown until this release. The album features the complete opera scene in a rock rearrangement which, while slightly deviating from the original version, was made to be as faithful to the original opera as it may.

The recording for the Black Mages' third studio album had already started when the idea of adding Maria and Draco came to Uematsu, and he decided to add it because he wanted to try something new with the album. He has stated that nothing had really changed from when he was composing Final Fantasy VI; he always wants the challenge of something new.[2]

Personnel in Darkness and StarlightEdit

Darkness and Starlight full

Darkness and Starlight's cover featured an artwork piece of, presumably, Draco and Maria.


Final Fantasy VI: Balance and RuinEdit

The Opera spans three tracks in the OverClocked ReMix album Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin: "The Nightmare Oath", an original track that borrows many motifs from "Overture"; "The Impresario", a reinterpretation of the Opera itself; and "Till We Meet Again", a reinterpretation of "Aria di Mezzo Carattere". All three tracks feature original lyrics that tell a different story from the original sequence of events as told in the game.

The Nightmare OathEdit

The lyrics of "The Nightmare Oath" follow a dialogue between Draco and Ralse that mirror their exchange during the original sequence's overture. The title refers to the Opera's apocryphal title The Dream Oath.

The ImpresarioEdit

The lyrics of "The Impresario" tell a wholly different story from that of all other arrangements of Maria and Draco. The story is told in the form of a flashback, as Draco recollects how he arranged eloping with Maria but was caught when they attempted it; Maria is slain in the ensuing fight between Draco and the members of her family, and it is implied that she was accidentally killed by Draco himself and that, upon realising this, he plans on committing suicide to join her in the afterlife.

Till We Meet AgainEdit

"Till We Meet Again" is a reinterpretation of "Aria di Mezzo Carattere", featuring original lyrics that bear no relation to the plot of the opera.

MerchandiseEdit

FFColdCast6

When Final Fantasy VI was first released key chains depicting the game's cast were available in Japanese vending machines. A Celes as Maria from the opera is one such key chain that was sold.

The Final Fantasy Cold Cast Collection is a limited edition collectible series featuring cold cast statues that display notable scenes from Final Fantasy series. Only 3,000 Celes and opera house cold casts were made, each coming with a card and card stand that had the statue's limited number and description. The series has been out of production since 1999.

ReferencesEdit

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