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Russian Baritone Quits Opera Festival Over Nazi Tattoo

A Russian baritone who was due to sing the lead role in Richard Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman" when the Bayreuth opera festival opens next week has withdrawn from the event after it emerged that he once had Nazi-related symbols tattooed on his body.

On May 20, a German television station broadcast old footage of Evgeny Nikitin playing drums in a rock band without a shirt.

In the footage, Nikitin was seen to have a swastika tattoo partly covered by another symbol.

In a statement released through the festival on July 21, Nikitin said getting the tattoos in his youth "was a major mistake" in his life.

The Bayreuth festival announced on July 22 that Korean-born bass-baritone Samuel Youn will step in for Nikitin.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and