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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The mass man

— A timeless story about what brings us together or divides us (2022)

ZEFIRO TORNA - Muziektheater Transparant

“There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown.” are the opening words of Crowds and Power (1962) by Elias Canetti. In this book, the Nobel Prize winner records his experiences with the mass movements of the early twentieth century and provides striking sociological and anthropological insights. The book is not only a reflection on the past but also a guide for the present. Today too, the masses are mobilising, uniting against injustice or for a better climate. They gather on social media, occupy the Capitol building, set fire to a city, or flee. They revolt, swell, seek an outlet and then collapse again.

Director Wouter Van Looy and video artist Wim Catrysse have created a concept around these themes: In THE MASS MAN, Catrysse turns his camera on a place of conflict, where violence and resistance can be traced back thousands of years. A seemingly irresolvable ideological and territorial conflict is raging, leaving a grotesque trail of death and destruction, and further disrupting the fabric of society. “The fear of an unexpected touch in the dark” is not used as a metaphor here; it is in bitter earnest and palpably real. In the film, his images testify to an institutionalised us-against-them mentality.

The renowned Belgian author Peter Verhelst wrote a new text for THE MASS MAN using Canetti’s magisterial book as a sounding board but with today’s world as its focus.

Solo singers/performers, musicians playing the lute, cornetto/trumpet and drums, a sound-installation artist and electronic soundscapes give a new form and expression to a wide range of subgenres of the mediaeval crusader song. Propagandistic recruitment songs, such as the famous Palästinalied by Walther von der Vogelweide, can be heard alongside Occitan pilgrim songs, lamentations, love songs, and a polyphonic Ars Nova motet from the society critical Roman de Fauvel by the composer Philippe de Vitry. They reflect both the outside world and the inner life and deliver a nuanced picture of a complex time and turning point in history marked by changing identities and world views.

"Mondelaers and Tembuyser perform these songs with such temperament that they shed a completely new light on a repertoire usually performed in a detached, even somewhat rarefied manner ... The songs retain their Mediterranean, Arabic colour, despite a contemporary sound. The singers sound full-blooded, grounded. Tembuyser shines alongside Mondelaers ... The Mass Man is a complex performance that does not shy away from virtuosity. It is formally surprising and visually strong." 14.08.2022, PZAZZ

"Intriguing musical meditation on mass, power and manipulation...With The mass man, Transparent has created a work of stage art that deserves the name oratorio. The combination of penetrating images, reflexive lyrics and the abstract musical idiom, added to the historical vista, urges the spectator to reflect, or rather meditate on the themes raised." 14.11.2022, Theaterkrant

Zefiro Torna

  • Jon Birdsong trumpet, cornetto
  • Jochem Baelus musical installation, electronics, performer
  • Simon Segers drums, tromba marina
  • Jurgen De bruyn music concept/ lute, saz, electronics, voice

Muziektheater Transparant

  • Wouter Van Looy concept and direction
  • Wim Catrysse concept and video
  • Peter Verhelst, Elias Canetti & Mahmoud Darwis text
  • Jo Thielemans sound engineer, soundscape, synths, electronics, voice
  • Els Mondelaers, Timo Tembuyser vocals, performer
  • Tobias Kokkelmans dramaturgic advice
  • Peter Quasters, Wim Catrysse scenography
  • Ruby Renteurs costumes

Production Muziektheater Transparant and ZEFIRO TORNA
In coproduction with DE SINGEL, Concertgebouw Brugge and Perpodium
With the support of Tax Shelter of the Belgian Government and The Flemish Government

Premiere: Concertgebouw Brugge 11.08.2022 (MAfestival)