"Hemispheres", the inflight magazine of United Airlines, has a feature article by Rachel Sturtz in its September 2011 issue on the reconstruction project:
I was particularly intrigued by the description of the gilding process:
On a four-foot scaffolding, a gilder sits on the side of her hip, her knees and feet tucked in at her side. She uses her finger to spread petroleum jelly on the back of her hand. She picks up a fanned brush made of squirrel tail hair and brushes it over the thin layer of petroleum before touching the top of the brush to a thin leaf of gold resting on a suede pillow. When she picks up the gold leaf, it shivers. The tiny, lustrous square is hand-hammered so thin that light shines through it. It is a tenth of the thickness of a spider’s silk. It will cling to every crease of a fingerprint on an oily finger. Rub it between your fingers and it disappears. But place it on molding that has been prepped with clay and egg and a swipe of distilled alcohol like vodka, and the frail leaf bonds to it, creating the illusion of solid gold. “No golden paint will have such a noble effect, such a bright color,” says Vera Babich, a third-generation gilder. “Over time, gold paint darkens and never achieves the same look.”
The workmanship on the interior sounds extraordinary. Unfortunately, only one photo from the print version appears online. Missing are the photos of some of the gilders.
There is also a sub-story on dancer Anastasia Meskova:
Nastia straddles the Bolshoi changeover. She honed her modern style with choreographer and former Bolshoi artistic director Alexei Ratmansky before he took a position at American Ballet Company in New York. She’s worked with Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet’s new artistic director, in the past, respects him and believes he can bring good change to the Bolshoi. She danced on the historic stage before it was closed, and like many dancers, she blanches at the idea of any additions to her home theater, let alone massive hydraulic systems and four new floors. “The old building saw so many things. It’s no longer a place I know,” she sniffs. “I feel like they knocked down a cathedral and put up cardboard.”