If there ever was a theater considered to be a national icon, it is the Bolshoi in Moscow. Originally built in 1824, and rebuilt in 1856 after a fire, the Bolshoi was the showplace of the czars, with the reputation of being one of the best acoustic auditoriums in the world. On Oct. 28, the Bolshoi Theatre reopened after a six-year, $700 million refurbishment. The massive project was centered around restoring the building’s classic acoustics and original architectural design elements, reinforcing the foundation and walls, and adding state-of-the-art staging and audio equipment.
As a partner of the Russian general contractor, German audio specialists Salzbrenner Stagetec Mediagroup (Stagetec) designed, delivered and installed major parts of the new audio systems. Three large Stagetec AURUS audio consoles with full DSP capacity have been installed. One is at the heart of the theatre in the sound control room of the grand auditorium, where the outstanding acoustic properties have been restored. A second is located in a central sound control room for the entire building complex, which includes numerous smaller stages, conference and rehearsal rooms. The third AURUS is a mobile console for flexible use, for example, during rehearsals in the grand auditorium.
All audio is networked via a large Stagetec NEXUS system with more than 30 base devices and several NEXUS-Stars. The fiber system was designed from the start for maximum flexibility and expandability, with the intention that all venues within the Bolshoi complex will be part of the total infrastructure.
To ensure smooth operation behind the scenes, the Bolshoi also opted for stage management and intercom systems by Salzbrenner Stagetec AVM. A total of nine custom control consoles, in different configurations, were installed throughout the various venues of the building. This was the first time the newly developed PerformanCeTRL system had been installed.
PerformanCeTRL combines the two well-established systems, Salzbrenner Media Control and DELEC ORATIS (intercom), forming an extremely versatile stage management and communication system. The PerformanCeTRL system at the Bolshoi performs not only as paging system, but also controls the complex signaling via lights and chimes and delivers automatic speech announcements. The system also includes numeric displays in the dressing rooms, cafeteria and other areas, displaying the number of the current scene to alert performers and technicians.
The gala re-opening of the 1,743 hall was led by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and attended by Russian and international celebrities. Critical reaction to the Bolshoi’s re-opening was very positive. Medvedev praised the revival, calling the building “our jewel, our national brand.”