Opening of the Historical Stage
The Bolshoi Theatre is about to return to its historic Main Stage. The Bolshoi artists for whom this stage is the best in the world are over the moon, as are Muscovites who are again able to enjoy the reborn Theatre Square in all its magnificence. Our faithful audiences, who for six long years have been pining for their velvet-golden auditorium - just as have our artists for their home stage - are thrilled. All those who recognize the scale of what has been achieved are full of impatience and curiosity and fired by the wish to see it with their own eyes.
Dmitri Medvedev, President of Russia, who was recently taken on a tour of inspection of the refurbished building, characterized its present appearance and state-of-the-art technical equipment as 'fantastic'.
A truly grandiose, unprecedented in scale and complexity, job of work has been completed. Of course, six years is a very long time. But that of which we dreamed and which, no matter what, we were always confident we would live to see, has come to pass: the Theatre is ready to open its doors to the public! It has been more than just returned to life, for many of its long lost historical features have been reinstated, it has been equipped with cutting edge technology and while, its external appearance has remained unchanged, there has been a twofold increase in the spaces at its disposal! Prior to reconstruction, the building occupied an area of 30.3 thousand square metres, the equivalent figure today is 72 thousand metres.
The Theatre now possesses a vast underground space below Theatre Square which comprises storage facilities for its super-modern staging equipment and also a marvelous Chamber Concert Hall with seating for 350. The hall will be used for rehearsals, concerts and for various ceremonial functions.
The Theatre's cutting edge stage equipment will now make it possible to mount state-of-the art productions to the highest technical standards.
There has been a significant increase in the Theatre's service facilities. For instance, the artists, who formerly suffered from over-crowded and ill-equipped dressing rooms have now been given splendid, modern, maximally comfortable accommodation.
But despite our aspiration to modernize and increase the spaces at our disposal, we were always aware that one of our main goals had to be the preservation and restoration of our unique building. And the historic Bolshoi Theatre Main Stage was 'resurrected' thanks to systematic scientific work and massive archive research and to the drawn-out, painstaking labor of, among others, thousands of planners, architects, restorers, artists, sculptors, engineers, acoustic specialists...
The wall and ceiling paintings, stucco-work and door handles, golden leaf and velvet of the boxes, the chandeliers and hangings, all the way to Apollo and his chariot - were all exhaustively studied and restored with the use of authentic original technology. Today the renovated, pristine auditorium and the Theatre's numerous other halls simply take one's breath away.
Particular emphasis was placed on the reinstatement of the auditorium's legendary acoustics. International acoustic experts conducted numerous tests and made sure all technical recommendations were carried out to the letter. The smallest details, even the cut of the drapery folds in the boxes had to be agreed with the acoustic experts.
All these achievements were made possible by the concern shown for the Theatre's rebirth by the Russian government and by President Dmitri Medvedev, in person. And, of course, the rebuilding process emerged onto a qualitatively new level when taken under control by the Summa Group, our partner and sponsor. All of us who work at the Bolshoi Theatre are immensely grateful to be able to return home and make ready to welcome our guests.
The celebratory 28 October 2011 Gala Concert will initiate a new stage in the life of the old and eternally young Bolshoi Theatre. The concert will take the form of a retrospective look at previous pages in the Theatre's history, an important chapter of which today is the reconstruction project which got underway at the start of the 21st century. In the able hands of Dmitri Tcherniakov, the director of the concert program, fragments from productions of the classical legacy and the creations of our illustrious contemporaries Yuri Grigorovich, Alexei Ratmansky, Pierre Lacotte will be woven into a unified whole illustrating the talents of our marvelous artists.
Virtually the entire Bolshoi Theatre Company which, as Russia's leading Theatre, is out to remind the world of the immortal grandeur of Russian art, is to participate in the concert. The Evening's program will consist entirely of a Russian repertoire. Russian music will be performed by guest stars - he world-famous singers Angela Gheorghiu, Natalie Dessay, Violeta Urmana and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Bolshoi Theatre Music Director, Maestro Vassily Sinaysky, will be on the podium.
The public will be able to watch the Gala Opening Concert on huge screens to be put up in Theatre Square and there will be numerous broadcasts. There will be a direct transmission of the Gala Concert on the Rossiya 1, and leading European, TV channels. The concert will also be shown live at several hundred cinemas in Europe. In addition to which, on the day the Main Stage reopens, the Bolshoi will extend its auditorium enormously by opening a YouTube channel which will present a live internet transmission of the event.
The two first premières of the season (Mikhail Glinka's opera Ruslan and Lyudmila and the Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky-Marius Petipa ballet The Sleeping Beauty) will be presented on the Main Stage - the first on 2nd November, the second on 18th November. The production team for the first-named includes Vladimir Yurovsky and Dmitri Tcherniakov; the production team for the second-named - Yuri Grigorovich, Maestro Sinaysky and the outstanding Italian theatre designer Ezio Frigerio. The first tours on the Main Stage will also be from Italy: La Scala will appear on 12 November and return to us in December. And this is just the beginning...
We extend a warm welcome to you all!