YouTube on Thursday said it would broadcast live on its website the gala reopening of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, the hottest ticket of the Russian cultural season where seats are like gold dust.
Access to the theatre itself for Friday evening’s concert is invitation-only but a wider public will be able to witness the event on live cinema relays around the world and also through YouTube.
“Fans around the world are looking forward to the reopening of the Bolshoi Theatre after its reconstruction,” said Yury Khazanov of YouTube in a joint statement with the Bolshoi.
Sergei Filin, the head of the Bolshoi’s legendary ballet troupe, said the theatre was delighted that the historic event could now be watched by hundreds of millions of people globally.
“We wanted our joy to be shared by as many people as possible from all corners of the world,” he said.
The gala is an invitation-only event and no seats have been offered to the public through the usual sales channels, meaning the audience inside the theatre is likely to consist mainly of the Russian elite.
The Bolshoi has vehemently denied Internet speculation that tickets for the event — to be attended by President Dmitry Medvedev — were up for grabs on the Internet black market for up to 2 million rubles each (46,000 euros, $65,000).
Tickets for the gala “have not and will not be sold”, said the Bolshoi’s director Anatoly Iksanov.
The historic columned building in central Moscow closed in 2005 for repairs that ran seriously behind schedule and cost at least $800 million, as the state of the 1820s building was found to be far worse than first believed.
The opening gala can be viewed on www.youtube.com/bolshoi