If you want to know how much the Bolshoi Theatre means to Russia, pull out a 100 ruble note, and there it is: the grand facade of the building.
Go inside, and it's an imperial wonderland. Gilded balconies ring the stage, and more than 100 crystal chandeliers shimmer above rows of crimson velvet seats.
It's impressive, but not quite as impressive as what's happening onstage. Dancers in toe shoes and tights are rehearsing Anna Karenina, a ballet based on the Tolstoy epic.