to the new Opera House could sit without
their coats for the first time in 10 winters..
On January 17, after a year and a half of being
"dark", the doors of Yerevan's House
of Opera and Ballet after Spendiaryan reopened.
With curiosity and nostalgia hundreds of people
were examining the renovated building, evaluating,
admiring the columns with new marble slabs, criticizing
that the floor is not varnished and were looking
with surprise at the sparkling white chandelier,
which before was so dusty that it seemed to be
Even the checkroom was working. Stanislavski said
"Theatre begins with the checkroom",
but for more than 10 years none of Armenia's concert
halls or theatres started with checkrooms. But
the new Opera House's first guests enjoyed the
pleasure of sitting with no coats on.
On renovating the huge building the Lincy Foundation
allotted $2 million, by which the roof of the
building, backstage, lavatory were completely
restored, anti-fire and air conditioning systems
were installed, a local boiling room was built,
lighting and sound technology has been completely
changed, concert halls and administrative rooms
have been cosmetically repaired and the actors'
checkrooms and make-up rooms were brought to international
But together with the remarkable improvements,
the theatre also had some damage. According to
Opera House director Kamo Hovhannisyan all the
stage decorations moved to storages in Charbakh
during renovation have been damaged.
"It's been two months that the employees
of the theatre have been trying to bring them
around. For some performances we have to make
new decorations, which requires great expenses,"
Also, costumes that were stuffed in sacks have
been damaged - some by moths, and other simply
from being old and worn out.
renovated house debuted with "La Traviatta"
The new provisions at the Opera House are presenting
new challenges. Specifically, technicians accustomed
to out-dated equipment are having difficulty getting
used to the computer programmed sound and lighting.
And according to the theatre's art director, Gegham
Grigoryan, they managed to make the heating system
work only after 15 days of unsuccessful attempts.
"It's a little hard to deal with modern equipment,
but it's better to be troubled with the new one
than with the old," says Grigoryan.
Fortunately, the difficulties are only technical
ones, and from a creative aspect the 200 member
staff has started working in a new building with
new energy and the first performance of theatre
season, Verdi's "La Traviatta", was
a bright evidence of it.
Even though Grigoryan has many times announced
that the season will be opened with a new performance
of Aram Khachatryan's ballet, "Gayane"
the theatre didn't manage to redo the performance.
Audiences will have to wait for "Gayane",
as theatre workers restore previous decorations
for the ballet that were originally created by
Minas Avetisyan some 35 years years ago. Grigoryan
now hopes "Gayane" will be performed
In June the Opera House is planning to add two
performances to the existing list of 15 -- Yuferov's
"Iolanta" and Rakhmaninov's "Aleko"
Administration of the theatre hopes they will
work throughout the winter since it's possible
to heat the whole building with the help of the
new boiling room.
But, Lincy money aside, not everything is free.
Prices for the opera have increased dramatically,
from about $1 to $2 to about $2 to $5.
According to director Hovhannisyan's calculations
to cover their expenses a price of a ticket should
be 4000 drams ($7). But the Opera House will not
take that step, since fans are already uncomfortable
with current prices.
"It's not desirable to face a half empty
hall from the stage," Hovhannisyan says.
That was not a problem at the new building's first
performance with new ticket prices, as there was
an overflow crowd, without even standing room
on the stairs.