Factbox: Russia's Bolshoi Theatre to reopen after revamp

Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:24pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Russia's Bolshoi Theater reopens on Friday after a more than six-year renovation that cost at least $700 million.

Here are some key facts about the theater:


* The Bolshoi Theater was founded by a decree of Empress Catherine the Great in 1776 which gave Prince Pyotr Urusov, chief procurator of the Moscow region, the exclusive privilege of operating a private theater in Moscow. It obliged him "to build a stone building that would decorate the city and also serve as the premises for public masquerades, comedies and comic operas."

* The current building was built in 1825 to replace the Petrovka Theater, which had been destroyed by fire in 1805. As opera and ballet were considered nobler than drama, the opera house was named the Grand Theater (Bolshoi being the Russian for large or grand).


-- The Bolshoi has seen many historic premieres including Pyotr Tchaikovsky's La Voyavoda and Mazeppa, and Sergei Rachmaninov's Aleko and Francesca da Rimini.

-- Russia's "two tenors," Ivan Kozlovsky and Sergei Lemeshev, were two of its most popular singers. They reigned supreme at the Bolshoi for years during the 20th century.

-- After World War Two, the Bolshoi became a dominant force in ballet, not just in Russia but throughout the world, producing stars including ballerinas Galina Ulanova, Maria Plisetskaya and Ekaterina Maksimovna, and male dancers such as Vladimir Vasiliev and Maris Liepa.   Continued...