An artist from Moscow’s famed Bolshoi Theater has died after scenes of him falling on stage in front of a horrifying audience.
Yevgeny Kulesh, 37, was crushed by a prop during a set change partway during an opera performance on Saturday, the theater said.
“The opera was immediately halted and the audience was asked to leave,” a spokesperson for the theater said.
Footage of the incident reportedly showed panicked actors begging staff on stage to quickly pick up fallen decorations.
The Bolshoi, one of Russia’s most prestigious theatres, said the incident occurred during a set change in Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Sadko.
The stunned audience members first thought the accident was a staged ploy, before they realized what had happened when someone on stage said “call the ambulance, there’s blood”.
Moscow investigators said they were investigating the circumstances of Kulesh’s death.
Interfax News quoted a source as saying that the artist was crushed by the ramp while changing scenes.
Sources told RIA and TASS news agency that he died of a falling decoration piece.
According to local media, Mr Kulush had worked in the theater since 2002.
The Bolshoi have been struck by tragedy in the past.
In July 2013, a senior violinist died after falling into an orchestra pit.
Two years earlier in 2011, ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko – formerly a principal dancer at the Bolshoi Theater – was jailed for six years for orchestrating an acid attack on the company’s artistic director, Sergei Filin.
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