A new book by sculptor, architect, and opera set designer George Tsypin explores his designs, which have been seen worldwide, including the Salzburg Festival, Opera de Bastille in Paris, London’s Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Tsypin is a truly unique designer, calling upon his training as an architect to create fantastic structures for the stage that cast aside preconceived notions of what the stage should look like.

In “George Tsypin Opera Factory: Building in the Black Void” by George Tsypin with Texts by Julie Taymor and Grigory Revzin (Princeton Architectural Press), his most intimate, personal, and irrational visions for the stage are explored and displayed. Dividing the book into elemental chapters of water, air, earth, and fire, these maximalist sets reference everything from primitive sculpture to Russian constructivism to the works of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

Designs including a head of the Statue of Liberty thrust onto the body of the Tatlin Tower and a glass and steel skyscraper that simultaneously rises from and falls into a lake are like ruins of some fantastic city shattering before our eyes. Tsypin’s metal and concrete forms often seem too big for the stage. They are in constant clash with the architecture that is supposed to enclose them. Early training as an architect and involvement with Russia’s Paper Architecture movement prepared George Tsypin for his role, as he defines it, as an architect and urban planner of the most grandiose, Utopian schemes–for opera.

The book also features Tsypin’s work outside of opera, including the MTV Video Music Awards, the Russian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, and the Earth Center project for Doncaster, England. In all his work, Tsypin redefines the parameters of contemporary stage design. Thanks to Tsypin, the days of stark, minimalist, almost empty sets are over. Set design, under his direction, is a unique form of architecture, a celebration of structural and sculptural possibility.

Tsypin designed the upcoming Ring Cycle from Saint Petersburg in Tokyo, Japan (January 5-February 3) and Mazeppa at the Metropolitan Opera, New York (March 6).

“George Tsypin is one of the greatest designers working today. His work is not about place as much as it is about feel, mood, and the power of transformation. . . . I look forward to our next collaboration because I never know in advance where we will be going.” – Julie Taymor

George Tsypin Opera Factory: Building in the Black Void
by George Tsypin with Texts by Julie Taymor and Grigory Revzin
(Princeton Architectural Press)
9 X 12, 22.86 X 30.48 CM
224 PAGES, 350 COLOR