Muscovites are waiting for the reopening of the Большой театр (Bolshoi Theatre) which is to open on 28 October following an extensive renovation. Yesterday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev viewed the theatre building and toured the renovated and newly-built premises. During the tour, the President was shown unique technical solutions employed in the theatre’s reconstruction. Mr Medvedev will officially open the historic theatre on 28 October and as a prelude he also attended a rehearsal for the opening night of the first ballet performance.
In addition, the President talked with ballet dancers and members of the restoration, renovation and technical re-equipment team working on the historical building of the Bolshoi Theatre.
Officially named the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater of Russia, the restoration and renovation of the Bolshoi Theatre’s main building is being carried out in accordance with Presidential Executive Order of August 28, 2000. Founded in 1730 and at the existing site since 1825, the Bolshoi has undergone two major renovations. The first building was destroyed in a fire in March of 1853. The current project began in 2005 under the Mr. Medvedev’s personal supervision.
Despite the renovations the Bolshoi kept a limited schedule of performances in what is called “The New Stage” of Bolshoi Theatre, a facility near the original building which was opened on November 29, 2000. “The New Stage” is a restored 17th century building grouped with other State auxiliary buildings and includes rehearsal halls, artist recreation and practice rooms, a single theater complex, and support facilities for theatre operations.
The extensive renovations were funded by the government after the main building was closed for restoration in 2005 and first projected to reopen in 2009. However after engineers determined that the structure was more than 75 percent unstable, completion of the project was pushed back to 2011. The original cost estimates were close to 15 billion rubles ($610 million USD) however the extended project will push the total past $730 million.
The Bolshoi is scheduled to open on October 28, 2011 with premiere of Glinka’s opera “Ruslan and Lyudmila.”