Hitler’s connection with the Wagner festival in Bayreuth is not – and should not be – forgotten…
The Russian bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin was in a heavy-metal band in Russia during the Soviet era. He withdrew a few days before the première of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman after a German television news segment featured video footage in which one of his many tattoos seemed to resemble a swastika. Other photos revealed other tattoos that were apparently Scandinavian runes that had been co-opted as SS symbols during World War II.
“I had them done in my youth,” Mr. Nikitin, 38, said of the tattoos in a statement released by the festival. “It was a big mistake, and I wish I’d never done it. I was not aware of the extent of the irritation and offense these signs and symbols would cause, particularly in Bayreuth given the context of the festival’s history.”
In more recent statements released through the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Mr. Nikitin said something different. The tattoo never depicted a swastika, he said. The video footage had captured an intermediate stage in the creation of the eight-pointed star that appears in current photos. And he now implied that it was done not in his rebellious youth but just a few years ago.
(The Metropolitan Opera said it was not re-evaluating his role in a new production of Parsifal in New York in February.)
Source: The New York Times, July 26