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Russia's Bolshoi reopens after reconstruction
Russia's Bolshoi theater reopens after $700 million reconstruction effort
By The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) ' Russia's Bolshoi Theater has reopened after a massive reconstruction effort to restore it to its original imperial splendor.

The $700 million, six-year effort meticulously recreated the opulent 19th century decor, many elements of which were simplified or removed during the Communist rule. The renovation also added state-of-the art stage gear and created an additional underground hall.

The most challenging part of the reconstruction effort was reinforcing the building's foundation and the walls weakened by erosion.

Russian and international celebrities, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, opera diva Galina Vishnevskaya, ballerina Maya Plisetskaya and Italian actress Monica Bellucci, filled Moscow's grand gold-and-red 1,743-seat hall for Friday's gala opening led by Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev.

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