Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Toronto architects to design Russian opera house

Toronto architects Diamond + Schmitt have won the contract to design a $454-million opera and ballet house at the renowned Mariinsky Theatre complex in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The winning proposal, done in collaboration with St. Petersburg architects KB ViPS, was announced Tuesday by Mariinsky Theatre conductor Valerie Gergiev.

Gergiev said he was impressed with Diamond + Schmitt's design for the Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre in Toronto.

"When the late Richard Bradshaw [general director of the Canadian Opera Company] toured me through his new Four Seasons Centre in Toronto in 2007, I was struck by its beauty, its practicality and friendliness with neighbouring buildings, its superb acoustics and, of course, its budget," he said in a statement.

The 295-million-euro budget for the 2,000-seat hall is being funded by the Russian government, with Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev confirming the Diamond + Schmitt-led project had won the design tender.

The Mariinsky Theatre, built in 1860, was the original home of Russia's Imperial Theatre and Imperial Ballet.

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