L’ALQUIMISTA in Barcelona

Next week we will begin the rehearsals for music theater performance L'ALQUIMISTA in Barcelona, at the Teatro Nacional de Catalunya. Michael De Cock created and directs a theatre adaptation of the book The Abyss by Belgian writer Marguerite Yourcenar. Lutenist Jurgen De bruyn joins the stage and, together with composer Alain Franco, provides the soundtrack for the story, which is set in 16th-century Europe with a focus on the last years of the Bruges doctor and alchemist Zeno and on universal themes of humanity and freedom in turbulent times.

The premiere will take place on the 11th of May 2023. The tickets are on sale vie TNC.


The Mass Man in Amsterdam

De Theaterkrant describes The Mass Man as "intriguing musical meditation on mass, power and manipulation".
The full review is available on the website.


MAfestival - PREMIERE

We had the pleasure of showing THE MASS MAN to a sold out audience in Concertgebouw Brugge. Prior to the performance, Muziektheater Transparant director Wouter Van Looy and artistic director of Zefiro Torna Jurgen De bruyn shared their thoughts with the audience. They explained how Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti and his masterly book on the themes of mass and power, medieval crusader songs and film images by Wim Catrysse form the raw material for a gripping music theatre performance.

Theatre critic Johan Thielemans wrote an engaging review.


CD release Time Crawls

The CD TIME CRAWLS is out on the label HOMERECORDS.BE and also available on our webshop (> CD).

Zefiro Torna takes us into a timeless universe with a reinterpretation of the 17th century broken consort music. Melodies intuitively created by flute player Jowan Merckx received a new arrangement for flute, violin, viola da gamba, violone, harp and lute by composers Marnix De Cat and Martin Valcke. The new written music bears traces of baroque and traditional music from all over Europe. The music, which is sometime melancholic, sometimes nimble and festive, fascinates by its ingeniously crafted texture and invites to dance.


BALSAM on tour

This autumn, the alchemistic laboratory BALSAM with Laika, Theatre of the Senses will be on tour again. After two series of performances at the Boulevard Festival in Den Bosch and Cultura Nova in Heerlen in August, the team is ready for it! Prepare yourself for a bewitching ritual in which music, scents and flavours immerse you in the shimmering world of alchemy. Besides the Greenwich+Docks International Festival in London and a tour to Portugal and France, BALSAM also passes by a number of Belgian venues.

--> Take a look in the agenda for all dates


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BALSAM - music theatre

— A tantalizing herb laboratory (2020)

Zefiro Torna - LAIKA

Zefiro Torna and theatre company Laika created the musical and sensory performance BALSAM. An alchemical concert. A stimulating laboratory in which the live music merges with surprising smells, flavors, visual and physical experiences.

First there was the music. A collection of vocal and instrumental compositions with titles such as “Alchemilla”, “Artemisia absinthium” and “Les Roses de Saadi”. Titles that refer to the healing, stimulating and enchanting effect of herbs and plants. The lyrics of the songs go back to verses from the Biblical Song of Songs, to poems by Vergilius and Horatius and to the poetry of contemporaries of Baudelaire and Verhaeren. About the game of love, about desire and sorrow, about the sweet scent of jasmine or the beauty of a tree. Above all, they sing about nature, which is overwhelming and incomprehensible. The music is an adaptation of traditional songs from Portugal, Greece and Iceland, of the mystical sounds of Hildegard Von Bingen and of 15th century polyphonic music, supplemented with own compositions. It is music that makes you dream, that is spiritual and sensual, earthy and heavenly at the same time - as an ode to life and its mystery.

This music is the backbone of the performance. It inspired theatre makers Peter De Bie and Sara Sampelayo to create an alchemical laboratory. The spectators sit around the musicians in a pentagram. This placing goes back to the ancient form that refers to the idea of the quintessence or five elements. A form well known to alchemists, who believed that the fifth element can only be known through a lifelong search - hence their experiments to find the “ultimate gold.” While the music resounds, the audience witnesses all kinds of experiments in which ingredients are converted into something else through alchemical processes of distillation, fermentation, solution and so on. Liquid becomes solid; wet becomes dry; cold becomes hot, and vice versa. Oil solidifies drop by drop into edible pearls, a flower feels electrically charged, charcoal a sweet treat…

The result of this visual spectacle is a sensuous experience of balms, powders, drinks and amuse gueules in all kinds of scents, colors and flavors. They are presented to the public by the performers and shared with the person sitting next to you. Conviviality as comfort, because the question remains: will the “ultimate gold” ever be found?

"An unexpected smorgasbord of sensory titillation – ready your eyes, ears, nose and tastebuds for a voyage of discovery!" 08.09.2021,

"This sensory experience filled us with so much warmth. The combination of the music, the setting, the sober costumes and tastings worked wonderfully together. It seemed like an alchemical laboratory from the Middle Ages that had been transposed to the future. And something that looked like dandelions has stimulated my tongue in a whole new way!" Reaction after the premiere on 31.1.2020, Calais

Zefiro Torna

  • Elly Aerden vocals, chatkan
  • Philippe Laloy flutes, soprano saxophone, compositions
  • Jowan Merckx recorders, French bagpipes, flugelhorn, percussion, ukelele, compositions
  • Raphaël De Cock uilleann pipes, bawu, chatkan, kaval, Hardanger fiddle, harmonic flutes, Jew’s harp, duduk, overtone singing, vocals
  • Jean-Philippe Poncin bass clarinet
  • Jurgen De bruyn lute, baroque guitar, chitarrone, vocals, musical direction


  • Peter De Bie sensory concept
  • Peter De Bie, Sara Sampelayo/Simone Milsdochter & Bram Smeyers/Arnout Vandamme alchemists
  • Jo Roets direction
  • Manuela Lauwers costumes
  • Mieke Versyp dramaturgy
  • Pieter De Smet, Rik Van Gysegem, Anton Van Haver & Marlies Jacques technics

Infused by contemporary alchemist and French top chef Alexandre Gauthier

Coproduced with Le Volcan, scène nationale du Havre and Le Channel, scène nationale de Calais & with the support of The Flemish Community and the Federal Belgian Government's Tax Shelter

16.06.2020 16:30

14.06.2021 15:00

17.08.2021 11:00

31.08.2021 12:00