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Bolshoi Theatre performer killed in accident on stage during opera

<i>Mikhail Japaridze/TASS/Sipa</i><br/>
TASS
Mikhail Japaridze/TASS/Sipa

By CNN’s Katharina Krebs and Reuters

A performer at Moscow’s renowned Bolshoi Theatre was killed on Saturday in an accident on stage during an opera.

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

The cast member has been identified by state media as 38-year-old Yevgeny Kulesh.

The theater tweeted its condolences on Sunday. “The management of the Bolshoi Theatre and the team of the mimic ensemble regretfully announce the tragic death of our artist YEVGENY SERGEEVICH KULESH (16.08.1983 – 09.10.2021). We express our deep condolences to the family and friends. The time and place of a memorial will be announced later,” the tweet read.

Moscow’s prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident, and the Tverskoy Inter-district Investigation Department is conducting a pre-investigation check at the scene.

“The opera was immediately stopped and the audience was asked to leave,” the theater also said in comments carried by the Interfax news agency. The rest of the performance was canceled and the audience was refunded.

The incident took place towards the back of the stage, where Kulesh “went in the wrong direction” as the scenery was descending, according to a law enforcement source, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

The Interfax news cited a source as saying that the performer was crushed by a ramp during a change of scenery.

The Bolshoi has been struck by tragedy in the past. In July 2013, a senior violinist died after falling into the orchestra pit.

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CNN’s Katharina Krebs reported from Moscow.

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