Bolshoi means grand in Russian and the new renovation fits the bill! NY Times
As a little girl I was transfixed and transported by ballet, both the grace of the dancers and the stories told! I distinctly remember my mother taking me to see Swan Lake (introduced at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1877), Giselle, Firebird and the Nutcracker amongst many. And, of course the older I got the more the drama, history and beauty of the world renowned Bolshoi ballet company as well and it’s theatre in Moscow captured my imagination!
The Bolshoi Theater, is one of the main landmarks of the Russian capital and a symbol of Russian culture, reopened Friday after six years of reconstruction with a gala concert attended by members of the Russian and international”beau monde”. The Bolshoi ballet company, one of the principal ballet companies in the world. It was originally founded in 1776 by Prince Peter Urusov and an Englishman called Michael Maddox, and was established as entertainment for masquerades during the reign of Catherine the Great. The Bolshoi company lay the foundation for the creation of the Bolshoi Theatre.
The current Bolshoi theater opened in 1825 as the Imperial Bolshoi Theater of Moscow. Designed by the architect Joseph Bové, the theatre held performances of some of the greatest and oldest ballet and opera companies of the world. Besides the ballet troupe, the theatre is also the parent company of The Bolshoi Ballet Academy, a world-leading school of ballet. Repeatedly hit by fire and simply repaired, the last major renovation of the theatre was in 1856 for the coronation of Tsar Alexander. By 2005, it had fallen into such disrepair that there were fears that it would be closed permanently. Instead they took on an extensive renovation with an initial date in 2008 set for it’s re-open. Due to major technical and financial difficulties it took an extra 3 years to complete. The renovation included significant improvement of acoustics, as well as the return to the original 19th-century Imperial glory with 21st-century amenities. The renovated theater has a back stage, extra foyers and cafeterias, and underground premises for storing stage decorations. The work has created an extra 50,000 sq meters of space in the building.
The total spent varies, but ranges around $750 million, and involved more than 3,600 designers, builders and engineers. After being dark for 6 years, the company made it’s triumphant return October 28th!
I’ve continued to enjoy ballet over time, and can’t wait to take my grand daughter to see her first! Are you a ballet lover? If so, which one is your favorite?
Below is a video with a deeper look into the theatre’s renovation. Enjoy this historic bit of beauty, it’s a joy to behold and it is now on my bucket list of grande places to see in the world!