Russian opera singer loses role because of his swastika tattoo

Evgeny Nikitin, a bass-baritone soloist of Mariinsky Theatre, will not be able to participate in a prestigious German opera festival because of his old tattoo. The singer has a swastika tattooed on his chest, NTV reports.

The Russian opera singer has given up the title role in Richard Wagner's opera "The Flying Dutchman," the premiere of which was supposed to take place in a few days at the festival in Bayreuth, Firstnews wrote with reference to Deutsche Welle radio.

Nikitin has refused to participate in a major musical event of the season in Europe after German channel ZDF aired a report about the Russian singer. The channel broadcast the footage of one of Nikitin's old rock concerts, where his swastika tattoo was visible, even though it was disguised with another tattoo.

"The reaction to that was rather strong. Even if it was done a long time ago, he could have acknowledged that publicly. But he just kept quiet. It's not very honest, so this is the reason that caused frustration and disappointment," Peter Emmerich, the speaker of the festival said.

In modern-day Germany, a tattoo of Nazi symbols is considered  criminal offense. It is well known that composer Wagner, one of the predecessors of anti-Semitism of the XX century, shared Nazi views.

Evgeny Nikitin himself says that the tattoo was one of the "mistakes of his youth." The singer has agreed that his bodily signs were contrary to the humanistic ideals of the festival, and therefore he decided not to participate in it.

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