I came across this great article in the WSJ magazine a few weeks ago. Moscow's Bolshoi Theater, which houses the world's greatest ballerina's, will reopen its door at the end of next month after a $720 million dollar renovation. Since it was first built in 1780, the Bolshoi has been renovated 2 times, making the most recent overhaul its 3rd reincarnation. I love the way they kept the character of the original architecture.
(Above: to restore the luster to the 6 story high balconies, restorers rubbed golf leaf onto 8 layers of clay and egg whites baked for 40 days and rubbed with vodka... only in Russia!)
The original paint and mouldings in the choral hall were a mixture of glue and plaster.
An original plaque hangs in the balcony corridors. During an earlier reno, Soviets replaced the original marble floor with hardwood. This time, restorers found a piece of the original marble mosaic in a well preserved area of the theater and hand-laid the floor throughout to match. They used 11 different marble types!
The czar's anteroom, and private imperial lounge which will now be open to the public. The gray backing fabric on the walls will be replaced with red silk.