Archive for October 2011

Historic Bolshoi Theater Reopens   Leave a comment

Moscow, October 28, 2011: After six years of a painstaking $700-million-plus restoration the historic Russian State Academic Bolshoi Theatre reopened Friday with a gala concert attended by politicians and celebrities from all over the world.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev opened the gala, which was broadcast live on a screen outside the theater, on Russian television, the Internet and in movie theaters in 36 countries. Top Russian and foreign opera and ballet stars, including Violeta Urmana, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Natalie Dessay, performed in the two-hour long concert.   The exterior of the theater was elaborately illuminated in different designs.

In his opening speech, Medvedev called the Bolshoi “one of our greatest national brands.”

Speaking about the restoration of the Bolshoi, which has burned down and suffered bombing throughout its 235-year history, Medvedev said the country “has always found the money to keep the Bolshoi in such a proper condition.”

“I am absolutely sure that everything that has been done will for many more years serve the generations of our citizens, all those who love the Bolshoi Theatre and inspire new miracles,” he said.

The gala began when the elaborately designed red and gold curtain rose and the stunned audience saw an orange Kamaz truck rolling across the stage, followed by scores of men and women wearing construction overalls and helmets. Suddenly they stopped, faced the auditorium and sang “Glory!” a chorus from Mikhail Glinka’s opera “Life for the Czar.”

The theater’s space has been more than doubled to almost 780,000 square feet from the original 340,000-plus as the building expanded about 79 feet deep into the ground, where a new performance venue called Beethoven Hall was created for small-scale productions.

The theater’s 236th opera and ballet seasons on the historical Bolshoi stage will open early next month with the premieres of Mikhail Glinka’s opera “Ruslan and Ludmila” and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Sleeping Beauty,” starring American David Hallberg as a Bolshoi premier dancer.