Another Bolshoi in town needs to close its doors for renovation. The Bolshoi Zal of the Moscow Conservatoire, which celebrated its centenary in 2001, is long overdue for repair work.
Although slated to close its doors several times since 2002, the hall is still open, trying to raise the funds needed for the job.
Numerous musicians have joined the effort to raise money for the renovations, and on Feb. 2 the fund-raising got a big boost from artists of the highest calibre. Valery Gergiyev found time to stop by for a quick concert at the Bolshoi Zal, and had Denis Matsuyev fly in from France to play with him.
Matsuyev played Rachmaninov's "Variations on a Theme by Paganini". There are probably not many pianists who can play Rachmaninov with this much ease, but Matsuyev, as a child, must have been the kind of kid who ripped open his Christmas presents as soon as he got them. In his music there was no delicious suspense, no expectant pause or delicate anticipation; he went through the subtle harmonies of Rachmaninov like a fist through wrapping paper.
Over the coming months, there will be several such charity concerts at the Bolshoi Zal. The next concert will be on Feb. 17, when renowned choir-conductor Boris Tevlin will lead the State Academic Russian Choir and perform a programme of Russian and Soviet choir music, including Taneev and Rachmaninov.
Bolshoi opens ... again
Feb. 2 saw one of the halls at the Bolshoi Theatre opened for its first concert after restorations. The choir hall welcomed an array of distinguished guests, including Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who listened to artists of the Bolshoi Theatre perform in the historical hall.
"I hope this can be seen as a symbolic return of life to our theatre," said Anatoly Iksanov, the general director of the theatre.Plans call for the Round and Beethoven halls to be restored by the end of March and the façade of the building to be completed by Victory Day.