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2011-05-18  Russian Ballet Is Returning Home
Russian ballet is finally returning to its historic home, the Bolshoi Theater. An iconic symbol of Russian culture and a favorite tourist destination in Moscow, the Bolshoi was closed down for renovation in 2005, but is now nearly ready to open its doors to the public again. This reconstruction project is poised to become one of the most expensive in Russia’s history, costing at least $660 million, according to recent estimates. When it reopens, the Bolshoi will be a carbon copy of the way it looked in the nineteenth century under the Russian Czars, but it will also feature the latest acoustic and electronic technologies as well as a new underground stage. The building, which is located in the Theater Square in downtown Moscow, was originally constructed in 1824 and held imperial opera and ballet performances. Countless Russian musical masterpieces premiered on Bolshoi’s stage, and its ballet and opera companies are among the oldest and most renowned in the world. Over the decades, the historic building survived Lenin’s plot to have it destroyed, Nazi bombings during World War II, and several fires. It has become the embodiment of Russia’s rich cultural heritage, the country’s generous and mysterious soul, and its resilience in the face of adversity. This year, both Muscovites and visitors will once again be able to enjoy Bolshoi’s grandiose musical performances and its unsurpassed beauty.