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.
State media have identified the artist as 38-year-old Yevgeny Kulesh.
The theater expressed its condolences by tweeting on Sunday. “The management of the Bolshoi Theater and the team of mimic artists regretfully announce the tragic death of our artist Yevgeny Sergeevich Kulesh (16.08.1983 – 09.10.2021). We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends. Time and The location of a memorial will be announced later,” the tweet read.
The Moscow 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 investigation at the scene.
“The opera was immediately stopped and the audience was asked to leave,” the theater also said in comments carried by Interfax news agency. The rest of the performance was canceled and returned to the audience.
According to the Russian state news agency TASS, the incident took place backstage, where Kulesh “moved in the wrong direction” as the scene was descending.
Interfax News quoted a source as saying that the artist was crushed by the ramp while changing scenes.
The Bolshoi have been struck by tragedy in the past. In July 2013, a senior violinist died after falling into an orchestra pit.