Actor crushed to death during opera at famous theater

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

The theatre said the incident took place during a set change in “Sadko,” a 19th century opera by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Citing a source, Interfax reported that the performer was crushed by a ramp 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.  

Moscow’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that it was probing the death of the 37-year-old male performer. They said he received injuries and died before an ambulance arrived.

BBC News identified the victim as Yevgeny Kulesh. Local media said Kulesh had been a performer at the theatre since 2002.

The accident is not the first tragedy to strike Moscow’s renowned theater. In 2013, a senior violinist died after falling into the orchestra pit.

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A restorer adds the final touches on the ceiling of a balcony in the big hall of the Bolshoi Theatre, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 23, 2011, during a press tour organized by restorers.  AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko