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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Dangerous' Hall to Get Face-Lift

MTThe Conservatory on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa is in dire need of repairs.
The Great Hall of Moscow's Conservatory is to close for an extended period as the building that houses it undergoes its first major restoration in more a century, amid fears that it is approaching a dangerous state of disrepair.

In addition, a plan passed by federal and city authorities outlines the construction of two new halls and a studio adjacent to the theater, Moscow's chief architect, Alexander Kuzmin, announced at a news conference last week.

Completed in 1901, the Conservatory has been in dire need of repairs for a number of years.

"We have sent a letter to the Culture Ministry, the Federal Culture and Cinematography Agency and the rector of the Conservatory with a request to consider stopping the use of the Conservatory premises, which are in a dangerous state," Anatoly Zaiko, head of the state building inspectorate's Moscow division, said at the news conference.

Zaiko said that Mikail Shvydkoi, the head of the Federal Culture and Cinematography Agency, had ordered a full inspection of the building take place in the coming months to evaluate its state. The exact timing of closure for the various parts of the Conservatory is unclear, although its rector, Tigran Alikhanov, said by telephone that he hoped it would not close until after the international Tchaikovsky Competition in June 2007.

While the project does include an underground car park -- a controversial element included in many city reconstructions -- it is not to be located below the historical building.

There appears to be little concern that the iconic venue will be defaced during redevelopment, with the plan's backers insisting that everything down to the acoustics of the halls will be preserved.

"The fundamental task -- and this was mentioned in the protocol of the meeting with Mayor Yury Luzhkov -- is that all work in the Great Hall, and not just in the Great Hall, should be done with extreme caution by qualified professionals so that the acoustic characteristics do not suffer in any way," said Alikhanov.

In the meantime, the rector said his main concern was to coordinate the various agencies involved to avoid interrupting performances or teaching at the Conservatory.