Friday, November 18, 2011

From Russia With Décolletage

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Moscow's Bolshoi Theater recently underwent a huge makeover. The six-year, $700 million process—marked by a host of delays, scandals, and firings—reversed the changes to the 1856 building made by the Soviets. Hammers and sickles were replaced by the imperial eagle, tapestries were rewoven, crystal pendants in the two-ton chandelier were restored, and the interior was covered in gold leaf, nearly 11 pounds of it. A central goal of the restoration was to bring back the acoustic richness of the main hall, which was compromised when a concrete floor was installed during the Soviet era. Bolshoi means grand in Russian, and the theater itself has always been a symbol of national pride, akin to Americans' pride in the Statue of Liberty. A New York Times dance critic who attended opening night of the newly-restored Bolshoi described the occasion as “resplendent with sable and décolletage and claret-colored damask...a blitzkrieg of crimson and gold leaf.”

American audiences will have the chance to glimpse the Bolshoi's facelift in all its glory when Tchaikovsky's “The Sleeping Beauty” is broadcast live to theaters this weekend. It's also a great opportunity to check out the moves of dancer David Hallberg on the Bolshoi stage: Hallberg is dancing his first season with the company as the only American dancer in history to be asked to join the Bolshoi as a principal dancer. The performance will be broadcast live Sunday, November 20, at 10 am and again at 1:30 pm with a special additional encore screening on Tuesday, November 22, at 6:30 pm (all local times). Atlanta area theaters screening the broadcast include Merchant's Walk, Hollywood 24 at North I-85, AMC Southlake Pavilion 24, North Point 8, and AMC Discover Mills 18. For more information or to purchase tickets visit Fathom.

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