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Russia's Bolshoi is back after lavish revival

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Russia's Bolshoi is back after lavish revival

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A revered Russian landmark has been revived.

VIP guests were invited to the reopening of Moscow’s world-famous Bolshoi Theatre after a six-year-renovation costing nearly half a billion euros.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was in the audience for the exclusive launch celebrations, while

the man currently in the Kremlin took to the stage.

“Our country is of course very large, but at the same time there are a limited number of unifying national symbols, national treasures, what are often called national brands, and the Bolshoi is in fact, one of our greatest national brands,” President Dmitry Medvedev told guests.

The Bolshoi began life as a pet project by Empress Catherine the Great and was founded in 1776, the year the United States was born.

Now after delays, criticism of the revamp and a funding scandal, the Bolshoi is back, with a big opera and ballet gala marking its reopening. Fittingly, it was an all-Russian repertoire.