- Mexican train carrying 1,300 migrants headed toward U.S. derails
- Secret Service begins regular K-9 patrols around White House
- Pentagon’s human memory-chip program moves forward
- Obama blasts GOP, ignores immigration crisis in Texas speech
- Marine Warfighting Lab tests the Godzilla of amphibious assault vehicles
- Harry Reid: Birth-control ruling the worst Supreme Court decision in 25 years
- Vet suicides ‘horrible human cost’ of VA dysfunction: lawmaker
- First marijuana customer in Spokane says he was fired
- Hagel: ‘Make no mistake,’ ISIL is an ‘imminent’ threat to U.S.
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to ‘fight for national sovereignty’
Russia’s Bolshoi reopens after reconstruction
Question of the Day
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's Bolshoi Theater reopened Friday after a massive reconstruction effort that restored it to its original imperial splendor.
The $700 million, six-year effort meticulously recreated the opulent 19th-century decor, many elements of which had been simplified or removed during communist rule. The renovation also added state-of-the art stage gear and created an additional underground hall.
Russian and international celebrities, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, opera diva Galina Vishnevskaya, ballerina Maya Plisetskaya and Italian actress Monica Bellucci, filled the grand gold-and-red, 1,743-seat hall in Moscow for Friday's gala opening led by Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev.
The most challenging part of the reconstruction effort was reinforcing the building's foundation and the walls weakened by erosion.
The historic building of the theater stood on thousands of stained oak stilts stuck in moist soil, but after nearby rivulets were encapsulated in underground pipes, the stilts dried and collapsed, causing numerous cracks in the walls.
Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin had wanted to close the magnificent theater, which he saw as a symbol of decadent aristocracy, but the communists ended up using the building for party gatherings.
The theater's acoustics were crippled by the remodeling of the hall and the filling of a gigantic hollow resonator under the orchestra pit with concrete.
The reconstruction removed the Soviet-era changes and restored acoustics-improving papier-mache panels, the original embroidered tapestries and other opulent decorations, which have been damaged by age and neglect. The rebuilding effort has been repeatedly pushed back amid daunting technological challenges and fund shortages.
Medvedev, who personally oversaw the reconstruction, compared the overhaul to rebuilding the theater after a devastating 1853 fire that destroyed the original building.
"Our country always managed to raise funds to put the Bolshoi in a due shape," he said. "I want to thank all those who were involved in the revival of our jewel, our grand national brand."
TWT Video Picks
Senate majority leader practices politics of personal destruction
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- HUSAIN: The fake caliph of 'The Islamic State'
- IRS employee suspended for pro-Obama activities
- Illegal immigrants showing up at border with 'Yes we can' Obama shoes: report
- Va. Democrat reportedly seeks nude shots of Kendall Jones
- HUSAR: Mexicos Pena Nieto passes the immigration bucket
- Harry Reid lambasted by black conservatives after calling Justice Thomas white
- GOP: Lerner warned IRS employees to hide information from Congress
- Amid border crisis, Obama to take 15-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard
- ISTOOK: Flying illegals home would be 99.5 percent cheaper than Obamas plan
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs
U.S.-Ghana World Cup opener