On that night or day when he sat at his table, head in his hands, he saw himself get up and leave. First get up, clinging the table. Then sit. Then get up again, clinging the table. Then leave. Starting to leave.
(Beckett: Stirrings Still)

Fremd bin ich eingezogen,
Fremd zieh’ ich wieder aus.

(Wilhelm Müller: Winterreisse)



photo: Marco Borggreve


Muziektheater De Helling has thrown itself into Winterreise, Schuberts famous song cycle, written in 1827. Schubert’s - Winterreise by De Helling is a musical research project, where Schubert’s work is looked at from a pre-existential angle.

Exploiting the theatrical possibilities of the cycle, mezzo soprano Gerrie de Vries and pianist Ellen Corver recognise the fact that Schubert’s Winterreise constituted an important source of inspiration for the Irish poet and writer Samuel Beckett.

The project focuses on how to combine elements of Beckett’s unique universe, composed of tragicomic characters as Estragon and Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, of works based on very elementary and often futile acts, of replaying the same tape over and over again, with Schubert’s romantic lyrics, where futility is just as oppressive as we find it in the last song of Winterreise, Der Leierman.

This question is the starting point of a project where Winterreise is approached as the first modern song cycle. Not modern, as ‘of today’, but modern in the existential meaning of the word: in Winterreise Schubert presents us Man as a fundamentally lonely creature, without God to fall back on. Schubert, as predecessor of Nietzsche, Sartre en Beckett.

Music: Franz Schubert

Arrangement, composition & dramaturgy: Klaas de Vries
Scenography & video installation: Kees Hin

Video: Jurjen Alkema
Performers: Gerrie de Vries (voice), Ellen Corver (piano)

Other productions:
Der Hund
Divine Excess
Pa pa pa Woman woman woman (two stories)