Russia’s famed and troubled Bolshoi Theater will reopen this week after undergoing a six-year, $700-million restoration, which was “dogged by delays and financial scandal.”
The theater, which has survived three fires, a World War Two bombing and at one time was perched over an underground river, has been restored to its opulent Tsarist beginnings, doused in gold leaf, while embracing the new with cutting edge acoustics.
In what has been billed as a thoroughly Russian evening of music and dance, President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will preside over a show that will be broadcast live in Russia, Europe and the United States.
“This will be a truly national celebration,” Anatoly Iksanov, the Bolshoi’s general director, told a news conference. He said foreign guests were likely to include German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Full details of the show are being kept secret but it will feature the top Bolshoi dancers such as Svetlana Zakharova and Maria Alexandrova, as well as guest opera singers including Frances’ Natalie Dessay and Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana.