Evgeny Nikitin withdraws from Bayreuth Festival over controversial tatoos
Russian baritone, Evgeny Nikitin has withdrawn from the title role of the new production of the Flying Dutchman at this year’s Bayreuth festival over a controversial swastika tattoo on the singer’s chest.
The Bayreuth Festival is an annual festival held in Bayreuth Germany dedicated specifically to the works of Richard Wagner. Wagner personally conceived of the annual performance venue and was instrumental in the design and construction of the theatre. There is a great deal of sensitivity to anti-Semitism, given that Wagner often expressed anti-Semitic views. Additionally his daughter-in-law Winifred Wagner, once the director of the annual festival was an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler who was a regular attendee and supporter of the festival during Nazi rule.
“I was not aware of the extent of the irritation and offence these signs and symbols would cause, particularly in Bayreuth given the context of the festival’s history,’” Nikitin said to the DPA news agency. “I had them done in my youth. It was a big mistake and I wish I’d never done it.”