Première Dates:

 NÉVÉ  (Part I) - 21 January 2010

FIRN & GLACIER (Parts II and III) - 17 February 2011

FULL TETRALOGY (including ZERO KELVIN - Part IV) -  31  January 2012

Music : Winterreise - Franz Schubert


Concept, choreography:  Samir Calixto 

Performance:  Samir Calixto, Isabelle Chaffaud, Denise Cecchi 

Piano: Rudolf Jansen 

Tenor: Eyjólfur Eyjólfsson 

Installation, Stage Design: Wilma Marijnissen

Costumes: Jookje Zweedijk

Light Design: Bas Vissers 

Producer: Korzo Producties


* Perfomers on 2010/2011 versions: Harm Huson & Valérie Guillorit  (Voice); Henk Mak van Dijk & Hans Schellevis (Piano)


Programme Text by Samir Calixto


The Winterreise Tetralogy is fruit of a long term investigation on Franz Schubert’s masterpiece. It is conceived as a four parts piece combining movement, art installation and live music on equal levels.

Originally, Winterreise depicts the journey of a disillusioned man who, out of despair, decides to wander through the harshest winter landscapes.  It was written by a poet capable to fit strong emotional content inside apparently simple poetry (Wilhelm Müller), and a composer whom almost chronic sadness, linked to poor health, would kill so prematurely at the age of 31. They were sons of Romanticism, a period also marked by the rise of existentialism in philosophy. This existentialist movement referred to man’s confusion and disorientation in the face of an absurd and meaningless world. It was also a reaction against the augmented pressure produced by social, religious and moral forces which placed the individual inside a pitfall of agonizing dualities, in an almost annihilating antagonism between subjectivity and objectivity. 

Oddly enough (or not), little has changed concerning the human struggle with existence since then; the same sense of disconnection and incompletion still haunts contemporary man’s life, and often a “symbolic winter’ is staged within him. He pictures himself as if he was frozen inside forged concepts and patterns, while bombarded by instant promises of happiness. Only a profound journey across emotional, physical and mental landscapes can bring transformation. Yet, as the whole Schubert cycle depicts, it is a quest full of obstacles, painful confrontations and uncertainties. And that is at the very core of this performance. 

In this project, man is not seen as an object maneuvered by fate or nature but mainly as the one responsible for triggering significant changes about himself and everything around him. Internal transformations reflect on the outside world, as well as natural events might have an impact on the course of someone’s life. This relation of co-dependence is circular; mutual and dubious; obvious yet obscure. This idea is one of the bulldozers behind this Winterreise.

However, opposing to the misinformed idea that the Winterreise is a pessimistic expression of an agonizing genius, the performance also tries to bring to light some aspects that very few dares to foresee through dark waters and during dark times: the ability to abandon, to learn, to survive and to transform. In times when melancholy, simplicity and beauty (not necessarily aesthetics) sound almost like obscenities, I invite those interested to discover what lies beyond the sad and apparent gruesome notes of Schubert. 






A young, granular type of snow that has been partially melted, refrozen and compacted. It is annually observed in skiing slopes, and is generally disliked as a falling place…


Songs 1-6 : Gute Nacht - Die Wetterfahne – Gefror’ne Tränen – Erstarrung – Der Lindenbaum – Wasserflut 


Revealing the first notes of the Winterreise, NÉVÉ explores the limits at which dance transforms the perception of music and vice versa. We become witnesses of a physical and musical pursuit as a metaphor for the everlasting search for inner (and outer) rest, completion and simplicity. The world of ideas and rationality so inherent to the male gender is challenged and broken into scattered movements and incomprehensible expressions, until there is space for freshly revealed emotions – and for silence. 





Partially-compacted névé, a type of snow that has been leftover from past seasons and has been recrystallized into a substance denser than névé. It is ice that is at an intermediate stage between snow and glacial ice. Firn has the appearance of wet sugar but has a hardness that makes it extremely resistant to shoveling.


Songs 7 – 12: Auf dem Flusse – Rückblick – Irrlicht – Rast – Frühlingstraum - Einsamkeit


Opposing the idea that the journey at stake is essentially masculine (as the Romantic figure of the wanderer might suggest), FIRN explores the female participation in the same existential dilemmas. Logic and reason are abandoned, as the immediate access to emotions is unlocked and, at the same time, a counterparty to their repression as a trade for acceptance and justification.





A perennial mass of ice that moves over land. A glacier forms in locations where the mass accumulation of snow and ice happens over many years. Glaciers often leave a trace of destruction and yet shape new landscapes - as well as modify the existing ones.


Songs 13 – 18: Die Post – Der Greise Kopf – Die Krähe – Letzte Hoffnung – Im Dorfe - Der Stürmische Morgen 


GLACIER marks the point where this Winterreise reaches its peak. Here, the performers from NÉVÉ and FIRN are united in a reconfigured space to embody the consequences of all that has been revealed on their private paths before. Like a glacier, the accumulation of experiences, thoughts and emotions – as layers of ice piled up throughout eras – needs to be released through intensive movement. It is the natural order, as natural as the creation which follows inescapable destruction.






Also known as absolute zero, it is the null point of any thermodynamic temperature scale. At Zero Kelvin any molecular motion vanishes, and it is theoretical, as scientists have only achieved temperatures very close to absolute zero. 


Songs 19 – 24: Täuschung – Der Wegweiser – Das Wirtshaus – Mut – Die Nebensonnen – Der Leiermann


ZERO KELVIN is a dance on the remains of what was lived, without celebrating the past or envisioning the future: it is the ultimate attempt to reach a present time in flesh, mind and heart on a freshly discovered state of being. It depicts the search for balance after being lost within darkness and barren landscapes. Yet, the end of the journey still brings a sense of disorientation, as a challenge to dispose of all the remaining chimeras for the sake of simplicity.


© Eyjólfur Eyjólfsson