The company has been housed in a 19th-century mansion on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa in central Moscow for its entire 16-year existence; it plans to move into a state-of-the art, 700-seat theater with a wide stage in the mansion's courtyard. Work is supposed to begin in January, although previously scheduled dates fell through, according to the paper. The mansion will also be refurbished.
During construction, the Helikon Opera will be temporarily housed in the former Et Cetera Theater on Novy Arbat.
Building time is estimated at 2½ year,s at a total cost (all of it covered by the Moscow city government) of $33 million. That is only a small fraction of the money being spent by the federal government on the current Bolshoi renovation, according to The Moscow Times.
Dmitry Bertman, the Helikon's 38-year-old founder and director, is known for his innovative, often controversial and sometimes award-winning productions. He will next stage Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov.
In The Moscow Times, Raymond Stults writes, "Summing up Helikon's 16 years, it seems fair to say that Bertman's experiments in staging have sometimes misfired. But overall, both he and Helikon have come to occupy a place at the forefront of musical theater in Moscow, redefining the classics of opera, presenting an impressive array of operatic works seldom if ever before seen on the Russian stage and giving all they touch a real sense of theater. To develop artistically and to expand its audience, the theater obviously needs the new, adequately sized and equipped home base that Mayor Yury Luzhkov promised it long ago."