On 1 February 2016 a presentation of the scenic design for the upcoming premiere of The Passenger was held at the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Director and Set Designer Thaddeus Strassberger presented a set design model and Costume Designer Vita Tzykun presented costumes for The Passenger.
Thaddeus Strassberger: There are two time periods in the opera: the year 1959 and the war year but I thought it was very important to show what had happened to the heroes before the war, who these prisoners had been before they got to Auschwitz. It is likewise important to make the audience feel movement from one place to the other and to show isolation of the heroes at the same time. The opera’s scenography won’t be strictly divided into classical scenes but will flow smoothly from one to another. The set elements are easy to move around the stage and form different configurations to create different locales.
Vita Tzykun: If the Director intends to show three different worlds in the opera: before, during and after the war, I go still further in my perceptions and find as many as five different worlds in my characters which I am going to convey through texture, color and silhouette. The first is the world of the luxurious transatlantic liner which is carrying our heroes in peacetime, in the late ´50s. The second is the world of Auschwitz. Immaculate uniforms and starched collar of the SS officers will make a contrast to the clothes of the prisoners. The fourth is the world of the newcomers. People were brought to concentration camps from many countries in Europe and represented different social groups: the rich, middle-class people, the poor … And another, the fifth world is the world of inner feelings of the heroes.
The presentation was attended by Oliver von Dohnányi, Music Director of the opera and Principal Conductor of the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre, project curators Andrei Shishkin, Director, and Andrei Ustinov, administration of the Theatre and Ekaterinburg media representatives.