Musical selection for the Historical stage opening after the reconstruction of 2011
The historical stage of the Bolshoi Theatre was opened after reconstruction on October 28, 2011. One of the country's main cultural symbols opened its doors after a six-year restoration. The opening gala concert was broadcast on national TV channels, through the Internet and on street plasma screens. The reconstruction of the famous Bolshoi Theatre and its pompously staged opening turned out to be the most expensive and flamboyant project in contemporary Russian culture. The building was estimated to be 50% to 70% deteriorated and had long been in need of restoration. The theatre, built on Catherine the Great's order*, has not only been renovated, but also given back its imperial lustre. The Soviet coat of arms was removed from the building main façade and replaced by two-headed eagle, the coat of arms of Russia from 1856.
Musical selection dedicated to the event is posted in the museum Sound Library.
As a result of the reconstruction, the area of the Bolshoi Theatre doubled from 40,000 to 80,000 square meters. The number of seats in the auditorium decreased from 2,155 to 1,740. Before the reconstruction, the ratio of spectator to stage area was 1:1; after the reconstruction it was 1:4. In the course of the work, the theatre regained its beige and olive colour, and the quadriga on the façade by sculptor Peter Clodt was restored. As for the restored theater interior, nowadays it reconstitutes the times of the Imperial Russia. Wall paintings were restored; chandeliers and tapestries from the time of Nicholas II were returned. It took 4.5 kg of metal to cover 890 square meters of stucco with gold. The Bolshoi Theatre building is a historical and architectural monument, thus the significant part of the work involved scientific restoration. The author of the restoration project, Elena Stepanova, Distinguished Architect of Russia and Director of the Restorer-M Research and Restoration Centre.
After the reconstruction, all those interested could finally see the Bolshoi in its entire imperial splendor. Venetian mosaics, precious tapestries, unique acoustics, luxurious interiors - all this was appreciated by those invited to the grand opening of the renovated theatre. Guests at the grand ceremony included not only politicians, cultural figures and businesspeople.
State officials, protocol guests from various countries, Russian cultural and public figures and glamour celebrities attended the opening. The list of participants in the opening ceremony was approved by name. The programme for the gala concert was kept secret until the very last day. The Bolshoi reminded the world "of the enduring greatness of Russian art" -- only Russian music, excerpts from performances of "classical heritage" and contemporary stage directors -- Yuri Grigorovich, Alexei Ratmansky and Pierre Lacotte. Programme director Dmitri Tcherniakov demonstrated all acoustic and technical possibilities of the reconstructed stage. The Gala concert itself featured Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Natalie Dessay, prima ballerinas Svetlana Zakharova, Maria Alexandrova and many other celebrities. The concert culminated with the adagio from the ballet “Swan Lake”.
Completed the Gala concert the scenes of theatre life behind the scenes was played out on stage. Then archival footage featuring legendary performers and dancers --Irina Arkhipova, Olga Lepeshinskaya, Maya Plisetskaya, Elena Obraztsova, Boris Pokrovsky, Vladimir Vasiliev and many others, recalling their work in the Bolshoi Theatre was demonstrated. The entire Bolshoi Theater cast in full body took take the curtain o the sounds of ‘Coronation March” by Tchaikovsky. The opening ceremony of the Bolshoi Theatre became the event that occupies held a special place not only the history of Russian culture, but also of the entire world. The Gala was broadcast live in six hundred cinemas all over the Globe.
*The Bolshoi Theatre was established as the private theatre of the governorate public prosecutor, Prince Pyotr Urusov. On March 28, 1776, Empress Catherine II signed to the Prince a "privilege" to maintain performances, masquerades, dancing parties and other entertainments for ten years. This date is considered the day when the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow was founded.