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Bolshoi Theatre performer killed in accident on stage during opera

CNN logo CNN 10/10/2021 By CNN's Katharina Krebs and Reuters
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 9, 2021: The building of Moscow's Bolshoi Theater. On October 9, 2021, actor Yevgeny Kulesh was crushed to death by a prop during a performance of the Sadko opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Mikhail Japaridze/TASS/Sipa USA © Mikhail Japaridze/TASS/Sipa MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 9, 2021: The building of Moscow's Bolshoi Theater. On October 9, 2021, actor Yevgeny Kulesh was crushed to death by a prop during a performance of the Sadko opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Mikhail Japaridze/TASS/Sipa USA

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.


Video: Russian performer killed in accident on stage during opera (CNN)

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.

© Moscow Prosecutor's Office The interior of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow after the incident. CNN is unable to verify what the blur is covering in the photos posted and pixellated by the Moscow Prosecutor's Office. © Moscow Prosecutor's Office The interior of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow after the incident. CNN is unable to verify what the blur is covering in the photos posted and pixellated by the Moscow Prosecutor's Office.
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