Actor killed on stage at Moscow’s iconic Bolshoi Theatre was ‘tired’ of work & wanted to quit a ‘long time ago,’ reports claim

Evgeny Kulesh, the actor at Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Theatre who died during a performance on Saturday, was planning to leave the institution after being a part of the ensemble for almost 20 years, Russian media has reported.

Kulesh was killed during a change of scenery during a performance of the opera Sadko, written by famous Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He was crushed by a two-ton backdrop lowered onto the stage and death came instantly on the spot from an open skull fracture before emergency services could respond. The show was immediately halted, and the audience was ushered away.

Speaking to popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, a close friend of Kulesh revealed that he had complained about working at the prestigious theatre.

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“Zhenya [Evgeny] once said that he was tired of doing the same thing for 20 years. He had no career and wasn’t paid well. He said he would have quit a long time ago if he had somewhere to go,” the deceased’s friend told the newspaper.

Kulesh began working at the Bolshoi in 2002 and remained in the same troupe for the whole time. He was married to a fellow performer and, although he did not personally have any children, he raised his wife’s child as his own.

Speaking after the fatal incident, long-serving ballet dancer Nikolay Tsiskaridze warned that the incident would likely go unpunished and be brushed under the carpet, with nobody being held responsible.

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“All the artists are unanimous in saying that the deceased was not really at fault,” Tsiskaridze told Komsomolskaya Pravda. “I have no doubt that the deceased artist or some stagehand will be held responsible, and the case will be hushed up. We have already seen it before.”

The Bolshoi Theater traces its roots back to 1776, when Catherine the Great granted Prince Pyotr Urusov the right to maintain a theatre. Nowadays, the Bolshoi is by far the world’s biggest ballet company with over 200 dancers, and is one of the most prestigious cultural institutions on the planet.

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