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The Bolshoi Theatre (Russian: Большой театр "Large Theatre") in Moscow is the most famous and most important playhouse for opera and ballet in Russia. It is the home of the Bolshoi Ballet and the Bolshoi Opera, both amongst the oldest and most famous ballet and opera companies in the world. The world-famous historic facade of the Bolshoi Theatre is even shown on the Russian 100 rouble banknote.
After taxing renovation work over six years, which cost over 21 billion roubles (approx. 680 million US dollars), the Bolshoi Theatre was reopened on 28 October 2011. Key parts of the renovation were the installation of a new underfloor system as a discreet power supply and the installation of a copper lightning protection system. OBO supplied both of these systems and provided technical support in every phase of the project.
More than 900 actors, dancers, singers and musicians work in the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre, the most famous and most important playhouse for ballet and opera in Russia. The theatre is also the umbrella organisation of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, one of the world's leading ballet schools.
The historic Bolshoi Theatre was built in 1825 by the famous architect Joseph Bové. 28 years later, in 1853, the entire interior was destroyed by a devastating fire. In 1856, after three years of renovation work, the beautifully restored Bolshoi Theatre was reopened as part of the coronation celebrations of Tsar Alexander II.
Since that time, the theatre has been modified and renovated several times. The most comprehensive renovation work in the history of the theatre took place between July 2005 and October 2011 and was financed completely by the Russian state. During this renovation work, the Imperial décor and many additional details were restored. The quality of the acoustics, which had been lost during the Soviet era, was also restored to its original level.
Due to the age and semi-circular nature of the building, the cables required to supply power in the auditorium could only be routed in the floor. To this end, the OBO OKA underfloor system was installed, as it combines multiple properties, beneficial in the Bolshoi Theatre.
For example, the OKA cassettes could be adapted perfectly to the floor – making them practically invisible. For this, parts of the floor covering were inserted into recesses provided in the cassette lids. The cassette lids adjusted in this way are barely different to the surrounding floor covering. The old brass-coloured service outlets are also an ideal match to the Imperial décor of the theatre.
An addition benefit was the possibility of opening the entire length of the OKA underfloor system. This meant that changes to the cable routing could be made in a considerably simpler manner than previously. Moist and dry cleaning of the floor is still possible without any problems – due to the separately attached seals, the floor can even be wet-cleaned.
On the roof of the Bolshoi Theatre, OBO installed a copper TBS lightning protection system, complete with round cables, cable brackets and connectors. Cable brackets with folding clamps were used to fasten the lightning protection system to the roof. This solution meant that no fastening openings were required in the roof. This was an important criterion, as the historic roof could not be damaged during the installation of the lightning protection system.
Today, the Bolshoi Theatre is one of the best technically equipped theatres in the world, thanks to the improvements made during the renovation work.