Bolshoi artist killed in stage accident

An artist was killed during an opera at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow on Saturday in an accident during a change of scene, the theater said.

The man, in his late thirties, worked as an extra in a performance of the opera “Sadko” by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Russian the news said the man had been crushed by a piece of landscape, and event videos which circulated online showed it to occur as a backdrop descended on stage. As the choir continued to sing and the the orchestra continued to play, there was a sudden commotion on stage. The artists waved their arms and shouted “Stop! The music stopped and most of the performers left the stage while a few went to the back of the stage to help the man. The curtains have closed.

The show was immediately halted, the Bolshoi said in a statement, and the public was urged to leave.

“A tragic accident has occurred during the production of ‘Sadko’ tonight,” Bolshoi, one of Russia’s most prestigious theaters, said in a statement. The theater said it was helping investigators as they sought to determine the circumstances of the man’s death.

The man has been identified as Yevgeny Kulesh. He worked in a 50-person group of Bolshoi employees who serve as extras on stage, complementing singers and dancers.

Russian reports said members of the audience did not initially appear to be aware of the death and appeared to think panic on stage was part of the performance.

The Bolshoi has a history of death and strange injuries. In 2013, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet was seriously injured when a masked man threw acid in his face. The same year, a violinist died after falling into the orchestra pit.

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