After six years of complex renovation work, Moscow will celebrate the reopening of its world-famous Bolschoi Theatre in Autumn 2011. As general contractor for the extremely powerful and flexible stage technology, Bosch Rexroth AG has planned, installed and put into operation more than 600 electrical and hydraulic drives, as well as stage control equipment for the over- and understate machinery.
It will be show business as usual once the Bolschoi Theatre, which has been declared a World Heritage Site, re-opens. Theatre fans can discover sophisticated, state-of-the-art stage technology behind the fully retained historical facade, which dates from 1825. The external dimensions of the building had to remain unchanged during the renovation, and so the stage area was completely gutted and a new room was built for the stage technology. The stage pit, for example, which holds the stage platforms, is now more than 20 meters deep.
The seven large stage platforms manage to impress, even before the curtain has risen for the first performance: each platform has two levels and is 22 meters long, 3 meters wide and 10 meters high, weighing approximately 80 tons. The hydraulic drives move smoothly up and down over a distance of 16 meters at a speed of up to 0.7 meters per second. And none of this can be heard in the auditorium: Not only is the hydraulic unit extremely quiet, but Rexroth has also placed it as far away from the audience as possible in the lowest part of the basement.
The over stage machinery has a variety of functions. For example, a winch can raise up to one ton at a comparatively high speed of up to 1.8 meters per second. The spectator, meanwhile, must not be able to hear anything at all from the drives during the movement. For this reason, very quiet machine technology is used here too in combination with effective sound insulation to prevent disruptive noises. An additional challenge is to ensure absolute safety: artists and stage personnel may be on stage while heavy loads are being moved above them. Sophisticated sensors and numerous software functionalities in the Rexroth stage control system ensure that dangerous situations do not arise.
Rexroth has already modernized the stage technology in a number of historical opera houses and has also equipped new buildings such as the China National Grand Theatre in Beijing and the Oslo Opera House. For further information on Rexroth log on to www.boschrexroth.co.uk. and visit our industry page for stage technology.