Russia’s Bolshoi Theater holds premiere of Ruslan and Lyudmila opera

The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow held a premiere of Ruslan and Lyudmila opera on Wednesday night, beginning its regular work after it was reopened last week following six years of reconstruction.

Ruslan and Lyudmila is Mikhail Glinka’s second opera. The first time the opera was staged in the Bolshoi was on December 9, 1846. It was later followed by nine different productions and 700 performances.

Production director Dmitry Chernyakov believes that the current opera is the only one of the versions that has a happy ending and it suits the historical reopening of the Bolshoi Theater, one of the main landmarks of the Russian capital and a symbol of Russian culture.

“The theater’s opening is a celebration after all. It would be odd to see it finish with a mass suicide from Khovanshchina or an afterlife scene from the Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh,” Chernyakov said.

The production crew thinks that Ruslan and Lyudmila opera is not for very young viewers.

Conductor Vladimir Yurovsky said that “the production features scenes that could be disturbing for a feeble mind.”

The theater, built in 1825, closed for reconstruction in 2005. The Russian government spent 21 billion rubles ($681 million) on the restoration, which involved more than 3,600 designers, builders and engineers.


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