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    21.17 MSK. RIA Novosti English has brought to you the broadcast of the gala concert dedicated to the reopening of the historical stage of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Thank you for staying with us. 21.15 MSK. Curtain calls. Standing ovation. 21.13 MSK. Musicians from all of Bolshoi's troupes -- orchestra, stage band, balet, opera and mimes all come out on the stage as the grand gala dedicated to the reopening of Russia's most famous theater comes to the end.

    RIA Novosti presents live coverage of the gala concert devoted to the reopening of the Bolshoi Theater. Andrei Zolotov Jr., Russia Profile editor-in-chief, is commenting on the event at en.rian.ru. To see the latest posts please refresh the page regulary.

    21.17 MSK. This ends the RIA Novosti English broadcast of the gala concert dedicated to the reopening of the historical stage of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Thank you for staying with us.

    21.15 MSK. Curtain calls. Standing ovation.

    21.13 MSK. Musicians from all of the Bolshoi's troupes -- orchestra, stage band, ballet, opera and mimes all come out on the stage as the grand gala dedicated to the reopening of Russia's most famous theater comes to the end.

    21.10 MSK. Stage band is performing Tchaikovsky's Coronation March in what appears to be the finale of the gala.

    21.08 MSK Video is shown on the stage with the legendary Bolshoi performers Elena Obraztsova, Irina Arkhipova, Maya Plisetskaya, Galina Vishnevskaya, Boris Pokrovsky, Olga Lepeshinskaya, Vladimir Vasilyev and Yevgeny Svetlanov.

    Animals such as horses and donkeys on the stage always create a sensation among the audience.

    21.00 MSK Another production on the stage shows how the backstage looks. As if the curtain has reversed.

    As Gheorghiu sings the classical aria, the zoom on the backdrop highlights how the Soviet symbols have been replaced by the Russian ones on the Bolshoi's trademark curtain.

    21.52 MSK. Angela Gheorghiu is on the stage with Liza's arioso from Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades.

    20.49 MSK. A scene from Ludwig Minkus' Don Quixote ballet classic.

    Andrei Grigoryev, Irina Dolzhenko, Maxim Paster, Boris Rudak, Lulita Seminina are engaged in this scene.

    20.45 MSK. A scene from Sergei Prokofiev's opera Betrothal in a Monastery.

    20.40 MSK. A 3D presentation on the stage shows how the Bolshoi Theater and its surrounding looked in different eras.

    20.38 MSK. To demonstrate the technical capabilities of the new stage, backdrops keep changing as the singers perform.

    20.35 MSK. Elena Zelenskaya, Anna Aglatova, Ekaterina Shcherbachenko and Svetlana Shilova sing Tchaikovsky's vocal ensemble Nature and Love.

    20.32 MSK On the stage, a combination of performers and light is recreating the scene of this building's first opening in 1856.

    Only Russian music is included in today's concert.

    Svetlana Zakharova is the principal of the Bolshoi and Teatro alla Scala. She was born in Lutsk, Ukraine and graduated from Kiev Choreographic School. She has been lately in the news as a member of Russia's ruling party, United Russia.

    20.22 MSK Svetalana Zakharova and Andrey Uvarov are the soloists in the pas de deux from Tchaikovsky's world famous ballet Swan Lake.

    20.20 MSK The orchestra under Vassily Sinaisky plays a fragment from Mussorgsky's Pictures From the Exchibition while a multimedia presentation on the stage shows the structure of the Bolshoi Theater.

    The Bolshoi's new curtain is based on the Soviet-era design which has become the Bolshoi's brand, but the word U.S.S.R. is replaced with the world RUSSIA and the sheaves of wheat are replaced with the double-headed eagles.

    20.15 MSK Tango from Dmitry Shostakovich's The Golden Age ballet. Choreography by Yury Grigorovich.

    The backdrop for this scene is the Soviet-era Bolshoi curtain designed by Fyodor Fyodorvsky with the letters C.C.C.P. and hammers and sickles on it.

    20.10 MSK. The Polovtsian Dances from Alexander Borodin's Prince Igor.

    20.09 MSK. We are glad RIA Novosti could resume the broadcast from the Bolshoi. What you see now are the giant screens outside the theater, where the performance is being broadcast.

    20.05 French soprano Natalie Dessay performs Rachmaninoff's song Ne poi, krasavitsa, pri mne... Oh, never sing to me, my beauty, written to Alexander Pushkin's lyrics.

    Premiering in 1932, the Flames of Paris is based on the events of the French Revolution.

    20.00 MSK. The ballet company is performing a scene of Boris Asafyev's ballet Flames of Paris.

    Yelena Obraztsova, who was one of the best mezzos in the history of the Bolshoi, is in the theater today.

    Dmitry Hvorostovsky is one of Russia's most internationally acclaimed singers.

    In the opera based on Alexander Pushkin's story Yeletsky is an officer who is in love with the main female character, Liza.

    19.54 MSK. Baritone Dmitry Hvorostovsky sings Yeletsky's aria from Tchaikovsky Queen of Spades.

    19.45 MSK. Ballet dancers performing a scene from Aram Khachaturian's Spartacus in the classical choreography by Yury Grigorovich, who is now sitting in the Imperial booth together with President Medvedev and several other leading Bolshoi artists.

    The Russian national opera first performed A Life for the Tsar in 1836. It deals with the events of 1612-1613 when after the Time of Troubles and the Polish invasion the Romanov dinasty was installed.

    19.40 MSK On the stage is the "Polish act" from Mikhail Glinka's A Life for the Tsar.

    19.34 MSK Violeta Urmana sings the aria of Joan of Ark from Peter Tchaikovsky's opera The Maid of Orleans.

    19.32 MSK As the clock rings midnight in Prokofiev's music of Cinderella, the theater disappears.

    The silhouette of the theater is the backdrop to the ballet scene.

    19.27. The ballet troupe is performing a scene from Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella.

    19.25. We are sorry for the interruption. We will soon resume the broadcast.

    The chief conductor of the Bolshoi Vasily Sinaisky leads the company.

    19.20 MSK The Slavsya, or Glory choir from Mikhail Glinka's Life for the Tsar opera is the unofficial anthem of Russia.

    19.17 MSK The performance begins. The theme is expected to be the troupe's homecoming.

    Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill is sitting next to Galina Vishnevskaya. First Lady Svetlana Medvedeva was talking to famous choreographer Yury Grigorovich.

    We all worried how the reconstruction would be done, Medvedev says.

    Our country is large, but the number of symbols uniting the country is very limited, and the Bolshoi is one of the greatest national brands in Russia. That is why we are all celebrating today the reopening of the Bolshoi Theater, says President Medvedev.

    19.10 MSK. President Dmitry Medvedev is entering the theater.

    19.09 MSK. The Imperial box is at the center of the grand tier.

    19.05 MSK. Naina Yeltsin, the widow of Russian President Boris Yeltsin is talking to Maya Plisetskaya.

    19.04 MSK. The broadcast has switched to inside the theater. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned ballet dancer Maya Plisetskaya and soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, who has just turned 85, are already in their seats.

    19.00 MSK. A RIA Novosti correspondent from inside the theater is reporting that the first bell has rung.

    The Quadriga of Apollo atop the Bolshoi's portico, as well as the national emblems both outside and inside the theater have been restored to what they had looked like before the Bolshevik revolution. The Bolshoi Theater is a potent symbol of the Russian arts that is depicted on the Russian 100 Ruble bill.

    18.50 MSK. Former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has arrived.

    A RIA Novosti correspondent from inside the theater reports that Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu, Russian baritone Dmitry Hvorostovsky, French soprano Natalie Dessay and Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana are the opera stars who will sing tonight.

    Apart from the technical upgrade, the building has been restored to what it looked like in 1856, when architect Albert Cavos rebuilt it after it had been destroyed by fire.

    The band of the Kremlin guards is playing as a who's who of Russian political, business and artistic circles file into the theater.

    The program of tonight's gala has been kept secret. It has been announced that well known Russian theater director Dmitry Chernyakov has produced it as a theater production, not just a concert. It will include fragments of popular Russian operas and ballets and will feature several stars of the world opera stage.

    18.30 MSK. Italian diva Monica Bellucci has just been seen arriving in the theater.

    The Bolshoi Theater was founded in March 1776 by Empress Catherine the Great. It is one of Russia's oldest institutions and is several months older than the United States of America.

    The renovation of the Bolshoi has cost an estimated $700 million and lasted for six years. It has caused many controversies and the original general contractor was fired.

    18.20 msk Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin was among many Russian dignitaries arriving for the event. Deputy speaker of the State Duma, eccentric Vladimir Zhirinovsky has also walked past the TV cameras.

    17.54 msk (13.54 GMT) Good evening dear English RIA Novosti users. We are about to begin the online report of the gala concert for the reopening of the historical stage of the Bolshoi Theater. The performance is to begin at 19.00 Moscow time (15.00 GMT), but we will be watching the arrival of guests at this ceremony of the year, which is supposed to be attended by President Dmitry Medvedev and an assortment of VIP guests from around the world.

    The main stage has been closed for a massive reconstruction since 2005, which combined expanding the backstage and service spaces, creation of an additional stage in the underground area, upgrading the technical equpment to the cutting  edge level while restoring the theater's imperial grandeur according the designs of the 1850s.

    18.05 Guests have begun to arrive as the Kremlin guard lines the red carpet leading to the historical building and the band plays marches.

    18.15 (14.14) Among the dignitaries who have arrived are theater and movie directors, actors, politicians and prominent businessmen.

    RIA Novosti presents a live coverage of the gala concert devoted to the reopening of the Bolshoi Theater. Andrei Zolotov Jr., Russia Profile editor-in-chief, is commenting on the event at en.rian.ru. To see the latest posts please refresh the page regulary.

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