A Russian opera singer who pulled out of a major music festival founded by Hitler's favorite composer, Richard Wagner, after it was alleged he has a Nazi tattoo on his chest, is still set to appear at the Metropolitan Opera next season.
According to The Associated Press, Evgeny Nikitin quit the world's oldest summer festival, The Bayreuth Festival, after a German television program unveiled old footage of the bare-chested singer playing drums in a rock band, in which a swastika tattoo partly covered by another symbol could be seen.
The bass-baritone insisted, however, that the images had nothing to do with Nazi symbols.
"One side of the chest there are Scandinavian runes, I was interested in the Scandinavian epics in my hard rock days," Nikitin told Agence France Press.
"I have never in my life wanted to have a swastika on my body, and would not pose to cameras in such a state," the singer said. "The tattoo on the other side has never had anything to do with a swastika, it was supposed to be an eight-tip star with a central emblem that I thought up," Nikitin explained.
Met spokesman Peter Clark was quoted as saying that Nikitin is scheduled to sing in a new production of Wagner's masterpiece Parsifal next February and his status has not been reviewed.