Shalom Life | April 20, 2014

The Opera Singer With the Nazi Tattoo

Russian singer, Evgeny Nikitin, has dropped out of Wagner festival after organizers discovered Nazi tattoos.

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: July 23rd, 2012 in Culture » Music » News

The Opera Singer With the Nazi Tattoo

Russian opera singer, Evgeny Nikitin, has pulled out of the Bayreuth Festival in Germany after organizers discovered the performer had a Nazi tattoo.

Nikitin got the Swastika tattoo, which has now been covered over, while he was in a heavy metal band as a young man. Although he claims “it was a big mistake in my life and I wish I had never done it”, Anti-Semitism is a very sensitive topic with the Bayreuth Festival so the situation could not be overlooked.

The Bayreuth Festival is dedicated to Richard Wagner, one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite composers. Wagner is “an artist long associated with anti-Semitism” and the racist-nationalist volkisch which “Nazi’s drew much of their ideology”, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia.

Nikitin insists audiences would not be able to see his tattoo during his previously scheduled performance of ‘The Flying Dutchman’, but videos of the singer are still available online with him displaying the tattoo.

"That is a problem in Bayreuth," said Bayreuth Festival spokesperson Gunther Philipowski

"Bayreuth has a bad history with the Nazis. It's clear that Bayreuth has to be careful about this terrible part of history and has to take a position against it."

Nikitin canceled his appearance in the festival after discussions with Bayreuth management, said Philipowski.

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