Oct. 26 - After six years of renovations, the famous Russian Bolshoi Theatre prepares for its grand re-opening. Kilmeny Duchardt reports.
It's a renovation that has been six years in the making, dogged by delays, and hanging with a price tag of $700 million dollars. But on October 28, Russia's iconic Bolshoi Theatre will attempt to reclaim its place as one of the world's cultural jewels at its star-studded gala opening. Theatre director Anatoly Iksanov described the theatre's need for change after its history of fires, flood and World War Two bombing that damaged the structure. (SOUNDBITE) Anatoly Iksanov, Bolshoi Theatre General Director, saying (Russian): "The building was in an emergency condition, the likelihood of it collapsing was estimated at 70 percent. That's a lot." Interior panels of rare pine, decorated with real gold demonstrate a return to the building's pre-Soviet glory. And the hall is now wired with cutting edge acoustics and the latest in stage technology and lighting. To match its new makeover will be a grand reopening, which has been billed as a Russian evening of music and dance. President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will preside at the ceremony, which will broadcast live in Russia, Europe and the United States. Kilmeny Duchardt, Reuters.