Mariinsky Theater to Close for Renovations

Classic Arts News   Mariinsky Theater to Close for Renovations
The Mariinsky Theater, the storied 1860 building that houses the St. Petersburg's famed Kirov Opera and Ballet, will be closed for a major renovation in January 2007, the St. Petersburg Times reports. It is scheduled to reopen in May 2008.

Artistic director Valery Gergiev, announcing the plans at a press conference yesterday in St. Petersburg, said that refurbishments will include fire safety improvements, adding that the building's historic interior and exterior will be preserved.

Plans also include the construction of a new theater, scheduled to be finished in 2009, to be built adjacent to the original. Mariinsky 2 will be designed by French architect Dominique Perrault and will seat about 2,000.

According to the Times, Gergiev said the cost and size of the building have been reduced. "Last time I looked at the suggested costs, I was bewildered. No theater, no matter how successful it is, can cost 1 billion euros. I am determined to keep the costs within 200 million euros. The building will be on a smaller, more chamber scale. It would be wrong to allow the new construction to outshadow the entire neighborhood, including the historical venue."

During the reconstruction, performances will be held in the Mariinsky's new 1,100-seat concert hall on Pisarev Street, which opens in June. Other shows will be moved to the Lensoviet Palace of Culture and the Musical Comedy Theater.

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