Unity in Diversity #2

The second edition of the European lute song project Unity in Diversity starts at the end of April. Lutenist Jurgen De bruyn and mandolin virtuoso Alon Sariel will be joined by singers Lore Binon and Elly Aerden, by Vittoria Pagani on the Indian Sarod and by the ney and lavta player Christos Barbas. The creation takes place during LUNALIA, Festival of Flanders Mechelen, and is part of the Mechelen city festival Construct Europe, which coincides with the Belgian presidency of the EU Council. The premiere will be followed by concerts in Hasselt and Dilbeek.

To tune in, you can listen to the podcast made by Evita Nossent, in which the musicians talk about their experiences during the first residency at Laus Polyphoniae Antwerp. They testify about their personal music practice and how they set themselves up for new encounters.

In the words of Alon: “...what we present on stage is the wishful thinking of what could be in Europe in the future, if the European dream actually works”.



The Mass Man at O. Festival

On 17 May, The Mass Man, a collaboration between Zefiro Torna and Muziektheater Transparant, will be a guest at the O. Festival in Rotterdam.

Director Wouter Van Looy, video artist Wim Catrysse and writer Peter Verhelst base the performance on Elias Canetti's book 'Mass and Power'. The Nobel laureate describes his experiences of mass movements in the early 20th century and mixes them with impressive sociological and anthropological insights. The book not only reads like a reflection on the past, it is also a guide for today.

Soloist singer/performers, instrumentalists on lute, cornetto, trumpet and drums, a sound installation artist and electronic soundscapes give new form and expression to a wide range of subgenres of medieval crusader song. They deliver a nuanced picture of a complex time and turning point in history, marked by changing identities and worldviews.




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.


Release documentary PAST >| ORALE

As an introduction to the performance PAST >I ORALE Zefiro Torna asked film maker Mathias Ruelle to create a short documentary. Through the eyes of five characters, this film highlights a few elementary parts from which the performance originated. The music of PAST >I ORALE - a wonderful mix of Beethoven, sound art and alternative pop - resonates as a soundtrack.

> Watch the documentary here (from June 15th until July 13th)


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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/Casper Van De Velde 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)