Yevgeny Kulesh, 37, is thought to have been hit by a ramp on Saturday night at Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theatre as audience members thought it was part of the opera Sadko
This is the moment horrified performers frantically wave their hands to alert staff after an actor was crushed to death at Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theatre.
Yevgeny Kulesh, 37, is thought to have been hit by a ramp on Saturday night as footage shared online appears to show performers desperately trying to get staff to lift the prop.
People then attempted to revive the actor but were not able to do so.
The orchestra also “immediately stopped” playing as the stage curtain was closed in less than a minute.
The audience heard people scream “Get a doctor! Call an ambulance, someone got hit by the backdrop!”
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Another was heard shouting: “Call the ambulance, there is blood.”
The audience was then asked to leave. It was reported they originally thought they had witnessed a stunt or a trick that was part of the show.
The distressing video, shared by Telegram channel 112, shows actors on stage begging staff to lift the fallen prop.
The theatre confirmed that he had died during a set change in the opera Sadko on Saturday.
In a statement issued on Saturday evening, the Bolshoi said: “The performance was immediately stopped, the audience was asked to leave the hall.”
It stated that he was badly injured and died before an ambulance arrived at the theatre.
Initial reports had suggested the late actor went the wrong way as the set descended, as others suggested he was caught off guard as the decor crushed him.
Performers have since come out to defend the late actor.
Nikolai Tsiskardze, once a principal dancer at the theatre told the newspaper Komsomolkaya Pravda: “Backstage is hell.
“Dancers damage their legs when sets and staircases fall over,” he said. “We must not blame Yevgeny or find a scapegoat.”
“I have been screaming about the problems of the Bolshoi for 25 years. There is no order, no medicine, no ethics. We are all serfs! This is all very sad.”
Moscow’s Investigative Committee has also confirmed that it has started an investigation into what happened.
The nightmare occurred during a set change in Sadko, an opera by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
Mr Kulesh had been performing at the theatre for nearly two decades.
Tragedy also struck the theatre in 2013 when a senior violinist, Viktor Sedov, fell into the orchestra pit and died. He was a veteran in the orchestra and had been playing for it for over four decades.
There was also a scandal in 2011 when ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko was jailed for six after he arranged an acid attack on the theatre’s artistic director Sergei Filinoutside his Moscow home that led to him suffering damage to his eyesight.