Russian Government Says There's Not Enough Money for Bolshoi Renovation

Classic Arts News   Russian Government Says There's Not Enough Money for Bolshoi Renovation
Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre closed last month for a three-year renovation, but now Russia's finance minister says there may not be enough money for the project, the London Independent reports.

Finance minister Gherman Gref has asked the theater's management to find a way to do the renovations for 9 billion rubles (about $317 million), rather than the 25 billion rubles (about about $880 million) originally estimated for the work.

The renovation, which has been planned since 1990, would involve updating the stage, including an acoustical restoration, reinforcing the building's walls and foundations, and cleaning and restoring the fa‹ade of the 19th-century theater.

Anatoly Iskanov, the theater's general director, said that much of the renovation was too urgent to cut. "The Bolshoi building does not conform to any modern standards," he said. "For example, fire safety. There is no fire-exit network. And what is more, the building is simply in a hazardous condition. That's why we closed the theater. To be inside there is simply dangerous."

Nikita Shangin, the chief architect for the renovation, is also opposed to downscaling the project. "If it becomes clear that all we're going to get is a cosmetic facelift," he told the Russian press, "I'm pulling out."

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