My kingdom for a smoke machine? Ramin Djawadi, the renowned composer responsible for the score to the HBO series Game of Thrones, is about to get medieval on our senses. He's helped create Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, a touring arena spectacle which lands in Montreal (March 3), Toronto (March 4) and Vancouver (April 1). The orchestral blockbuster features soloists, choirs, ensembles and water-splashing cellists on multiple stages. And what would an arena show be without a little pyro? The Globe and Mail spoke with the German-born composer and conductor about his multimedia extravaganza.
You're in the middle of rehearsals for this arena show, Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience. Have you any experience putting this kind of thing together?
Uh, no. Absolutely not. In my teenage days and in my college days, I performed live extensively. But that was as a guitar player in a band setting. I did a handful of smaller concerts with Game of Thrones music, but this is something completely new.
When considering how this spectacle would be staged, were there things that inspired you?
The inspiration comes from Game of Thrones itself, and we wanted to do something unique with it. So we brainstormed. How can we have the screens represent the wall? How can we have the screens represent the towns? Eventually the design came to life. For the musicians, we have satellite stages they can move onto.
Sounds like a rock show.
It does have a contemporary spin to it. It's definitely not a traditional orchestral concert. But it's not a rock show either. It's something in-between. It's not a musical, and it's not Vegas. It's a hybrid. It has an immersive part as well – digital content, with snow on the screens, for example. And we have pyro.
I should hope so.
Well, it's really stunning. It's going to be a great summary of seasons one through six.
You mentioned playing guitar and being in a band when you were younger. Can you talk about that?
I had a dream of becoming a rock star. It almost worked, but it didn't. I had this naive dream of being in a band and touring the world and, once I got tired of that, I would be a film composer.
Was there a film score that got you to thinking about getting into movies?
That would be The Magnificent Seven. It was a western that just blew me away, and that score from Elmer Bernstein just stuck with me. When I turned the movie off, I still had the melodies in my head. I realized then that it was something I wanted to do. The music I wrote back then was always instrumental. So it seemed natural to go in that direction.
So you conquered the film-score world, and now you're touring arenas as the conductor of this extravaganza. Maybe you'll be a rock star yet.
Who knows? I would have never thought we would have taken this out on the road, this big. It's ironic now, that I'm going on tour. I guess it's another dream of mine come true.
Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, March 4, 8 p.m., $39.50 to $125. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., 855-985-5000 or gameofthronesconcert.com.
This interview has been condensed and edited.