It is a crime where the drama, motives and methods could have come straight from a melodramatic manuscript for a Russian ballet.
But an apparent acid attack by a star soloist on his artistic director was not in played out onstage, but on the streets of Moscow.
Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko - the alleged mastermind of the attack which badly damaged the eyesight and face of Sergei Filin - was detained by Russian police on Tuesday.
Russian dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, as Ivan the Terrible, pictured after a dress rehearsal
An apparent confession from Dmitrichenko was screened on Russian television, though it is not known if it was made under duress.
With large black rings under his eyes, hollowed cheeks and wearing a striped top and fur-lined parka, Dmitrichenko says to the camera: “Yes, it was me who organised this attack but not to the extent that it happened."
The dancer, who is a well-known name in Russia and recently danced Ivan in Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible says he will confirm his reasons later in a written statement.
In just 10 days, Dmitrichenko was due to appear at the Bolshoi in "Sleeping Beauty" where he played Bluebird.
Dmitrichenko, who has been with the troupe since 2002, is a leading soloist, but not one of the six most senior dancers at the company, who are known as premiers.
A frame grab taken from video supplied by the Moscow Interior Ministry of an apparent confession by Dmitrichenko
A Moscow police spokesman told the news agency Interfax: "The attack was motivated by Bolshoi Theatre soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko’s job-related personal aversion to Filin."
The Bolshoi Ballet has refused to comment until after legal proceedings are over, but its spokeswoman told AP that management was unaware of any personal conflict between Dmitrichenko and Filin.
Channel One state television reported that Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, who is also a Bolshoi soloist, was known to have been at odds with Filin.
A highly placed source at the theatre told The Times that Filin, who is in Germany preparing for a tenth operation on his eyes, was “relieved but not surprised” that Dmitrichenko had been arrested.
He was arrested with Yuri Zarutsky, who is suspected of actually throwing the acid in Filin's face, and Andrei Lipatov suspected of driving a getaway vehicle. Both men, unconnected with the Bolshoi, have apparently confessed on video. Lipatov is quoted by the BBC as saying: "I was at that place at that moment. I just drove a man there — I didn’t see how it happened.”
The crime has thrown the spotlight on ugly tensions behind the scenes at the ballet company.
Russian dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze leads a rehearsal in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
Before Dmitrichenko's arrest Bolshoi's general director, Anatoly Iksanov, accused principal dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze of masterminding the attack, pointing out his regular rebellions against theatre management.
Tsiskaridze, in turn, pointed the finger at Iksanov for fuelling backstage splits. Tsiskaridze was the mentor of Dmitrichenko's girlfriend Vorontsova.
The Izvestia daily on Wednesday quoted ballet teacher Marina Kondratyeva admitting Vorontsova had not been given leading parts lately but for a good reason: "How could Filin `elbow her out'? Tsiskaridze is mentoring and coaching her – but she was just plain fat."
Separately, Dmitrichenko hit the headlines in Russia last year for an angry outburst against a less than favourable review, from Kommersant Daily, which said his "artistic scope is limited not to mention his physical potential."
Dmitrichenko called the reviewer "a failed performer."
"I'm happy, I'm accomplished, I work with the genius of a teacher, I work with Genius, Grigorovich himself!!! What about you??"