Bolshoi restored to former glory in Moscow

Oct. 28, 2011 at 7:24 PM

MOSCOW, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Moscow's Bolshoi Theater was reopened Friday after a painstaking six-year renovation that cost more than $700 million.

A gala concert attended by dignitaries and heads of state was broadcast Friday night on Russian television. The concert featured Russian classical music and international opera stars including Placido Domingo and Natalie Dessay, The Moscow News said.

The theater's space was more than doubled in the extensive renovation, which restored the building's structural integrity and polished the interior's frescoes, gold leaf and chandeliers, the BBC said.

Symbols of the Soviet-era were removed from the building, and a hammer and sickle no long adorns the curtain. Insignia on the theater's facade was replaced with the Russian eagle.

While there has been a theater on the site since the 1700s, the current building dates back to the 1856.

The theater's 236th opera and ballet seasons open next month.

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