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Male performer is killed at Moscow’s world famous Bolshoi Theatre 


Male performer is killed by falling scenery during set change at Moscow’s world famous Bolshoi Theatre

  • Incident occurred during a set change in Sadko, an 19th century Russian opera
  • Moscow’s Investigative Committee said it was probing death of 37-year-old male
  • Local reports said performer was crushed by a ramp during a set change


An actor of Russia‘s legendary Bolshoi Theatre was killed on Saturday in an accident on stage during the performance of an opera, the Moscow company said.

The Bolshoi, one of Russia’s most prestigious theatres, said the incident occurred during a set change in Sadko, an 19th century opera by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. 

The theatre said Yevgeny Kulesh, who had been with the theatre since 2002, was killed in an accident during a set change. 

‘The performance was immediately stopped and the audience was asked to leave,’ the theatre’s press service told the Interfax news agency.

A performer of Russia’s legendary Bolshoi Theatre (pictured) was killed on Saturday in an accident on stage during the performance of an opera, the Moscow company said

Moscow’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that it was probing the death of the 37-year-old performer.

The company said he received injuries and died before an ambulance arrived. 

Citing a source, Interfax reported that the performer and was crushed by a ramp during a set change.

Footage shared online appeared to show panicked performers pleading with staff to lift the prop that had fallen on top of him. 

Despite efforts from onlookers, Mr Kulesh could not be revived. 

It is believed that the actor went in the wrong direction as the scenery was being lowered, and subsequently became trapped underneath.

The Bolshoi, one of Russia's most prestigious theatres, said the incident occurred during a set change in Sadko, an 19th century opera by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Pictured: A general view shows the empty hall of the Bolshoi Theatre, in Moscow, Russia

The Bolshoi, one of Russia’s most prestigious theatres, said the incident occurred during a set change in Sadko, an 19th century opera by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Pictured: A general view shows the empty hall of the Bolshoi Theatre, in Moscow, Russia

Shocked theatre-goers on social media said that they first thought they were witnessing a staged trick, but it quickly became apparent what was happening when the other performers reacted in horror.

Some on stage reportedly shouted ‘call the ambulance, there is blood’.  

The accident is not the first tragedy to strike Moscow’s renowned theatre.

In 2013, a senior violinist – Viktor Sedov, who had played violin at the theatre for four decades – died after falling into the orchestra pit.

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