Singer with Nazi tattoo cancels Germany appearance
July 23, 2012 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
German Chancellor and Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler, second right, talking with Winifred Wagner in the park of the Wahnfried Villa in Bayreuth in summer 1937. Winifred Wagner was the daughter-in-law of Richard Wagner and director of the Bayreuth music festival.
- Evgeny Nikitin was due to appear at the Bayreuth Festival this week
- He got a Nazi swastika tattoo as a young man in a heavy metal band, the festival says
- The festival performs the works of Richard Wagner, a favorite of Adolf Hitler's
(CNN) -- Russian singer Evgeny Nikitin has pulled out of one of the world's best-known opera events, the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, because he has a Nazi tattoo, organizers said Sunday.
Nikitin was in a heavy metal band as a young man, and got the swastika tattoo then, said festival spokesman Gunther Philipowski.
"That is a problem in Bayreuth," Philipowski said. "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."
The festival is dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner, one of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's favorite composers.
Hitler attended the Bayreuth Festival regularly, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, which describes Wagner as "an artist long associated with anti-Semitism" and the racist-nationalist volkisch tradition "from which the Nazis drew much of their ideology."
Nikitin, 38, a bass-baritone, has "painted over" his Nazi tattoo, and it would not have been visible during his performance in "The Flying Dutchman," Philipowski said.
But there are videos of him online where the tattoo is visible, he said.
"I had the tattoos made when I was young. It was a big mistake in my life and I wish I had never done it," Nikitin said in a statement released by the festival.
Nikitin canceled his appearance after discussions with Bayreuth management, the spokesman said.
He had already been in Germany rehearsing for his premiere on Wednesday, Philipowski said.
Nikitin's agent did not immediately respond to CNN questions about the cancellation.
His website still lists him as appearing in "The Flying Dutchman" at the festival this summer. The festival website does not list him in the cast.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.