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Scenic designer George Tsypin, projection designer Elaine McCarthy, and lighting designer Gleb Filshtinsky collaborated on a new production of Tchaikovsky's opera, Mazeppa, which premiered at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City in March, in a co-production with the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Based on larger-than-life historical characters, the opera is set in many locales throughout the Ukraine as it depicts a story of love, betrayal, and the abuse of power.
“The idea of the set was one of those pompous displays of power and accomplishment that any totalitarian regime employs in order to impress the mob,” explains the Russian-born Tsypin, who plumbed his native country's history. “It's always done in this pseudo-realistic style whether in Soviet union, Nazi Germany, or China. You can see elements of it even in Washington, DC. The set also becomes a metaphor for futility and vulgarity of the pursuit of wealth and power on personal level.” Various elements of the set shown here are from Act II, Scene 3.