This is the first article I've seen about the previously planned, then delayed reconstruction of the historical Mariinsky Theatre. The article outlines the history of the plans, timing, and what needs to be done. Apologies I do not have time to translate the entire thing. But it states that the restoration is planned for 2015-16 and that 200 MILLION dollars have been set aside for it. It does not clarify whether the theatre will be fully closed during restoration or not.http://www.fontanka.ru/2014/03/19/204/
One disturbing suggestion was that the architects wanted to "redo" the building side that faces the canal and turn that into the main entrance. This theatre was built in Tsarist times and should not be changed!
They also need to make the bridge between the buildings functional for dancers/singers to walk between buildings during the -20C temperatures and not force them to walk outside to go between buildings. However the bridge was not placed where intended, and it is positioned between stories (at present time it's not a functional bridge as there's no passageway through it).
They want to raise the roof 2 meters and accordingly raise the grid bars of the stage up too in order to allow "easier placement of the scenery" and to install more modern equipment.*
They state the building is sprinkled with through-wall cracks that run the entire height of the building up to Gergiev's office. Those need to be fixed.
They wanted to move the costume department to the second stage as well but then realize there was no assigned space for doing so.
I can see earthquake-type reconstruction going on, as was done in many buildings in San Francisco after the earthquake, to strengthen the foundation beams and basically keep the building upright (they state it is tilting towards the canal, although visually that is not evident at all when you stand outside it). But I think it's a ridiculous idea to go changing doors/entrances and raise/lower anything. If they're going to alter it, it won't remain "historical".
X. Fabre & Speller / Scene / Setec Batiment is the firm responsible for the work under the direction of Xavier Fabre. The contract they initially concluded in 2006 was revoked but last summer it was renewed. The World Bank and Russian Govt have granted the 200 million dollars as part of the "Economic Development of Saint Petersburg" project. According to the media, the investment construction project fund has already concluded a new contract with Fabre of 2.6 million dollars.
*the equipment in this theatre functions better, and the sound is better than in the new multi million dollar box next door. It doesn't need new equipment, it needs to preserve the genius layout that has withstood over 230 years of performances.