Russian Bass Baritone Opera Singer Evgeny Nikitin's Bad Tattoo Story

sarah_calavera in Music

Is Russian opera singer Evgeny Nikitin forever going to be known as the guy with "that Nazi tattoo?"

Evgeny Nikitin bass baritone opera singer pulled out of the Vienna's Fidelio Opera this month down to sickness and despite his success he is still referred to as the tattooed baritone with that swastika tattoo. In 2012 he was forced out of the Bayreuth festival which pays tribute to Wagner because two of his tattoos were believed to be Nazi symbols. Nikitin explained that his tattoos were not a reflection of his political ideals and that he was simply misunderstood but even years after it still follows him. It begs the question can you ever recover a professional career after a bad tattoo story?

Evgeny Nikitin is heavily tattooed all across his body many he got in his younger days
Evgeny Nikitin is heavily tattooed all across his body many he got in his younger days
The highly controversial "nazi" tattoo he was heavily criticized for
The highly controversial "nazi" tattoo he was heavily criticized for

Evgeny Nikitin spoke out after the story came out of his "Nazi inspired" tattoos trying to tell the real story. He claims the tattoo at the time was unfinished, that he had designed the piece himself which was a star and heraldry symbol. It hadn't meant to be a swastika but in the stage it was before completion looked a lot like it.

Evgeny's original design sketch for the chest tattoo. Photo courtesy of The New York Times
Evgeny's original design sketch for the chest tattoo. Photo courtesy of The New York Times
The tattoo completed certainly now doesn't look like a swastika
The tattoo completed certainly now doesn't look like a swastika

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The rune tattoo on his chest also caused controversy. The "life rune" was a symbol used by the SS Lebensborn project, which supported "racially pure" Aryan women. The Norse rune symbol originally had different meanings including protection and spirituality. Evgeny claims he had no idea of the Nazi connection to the symbol but picked it out from a book of runes in his tattoo shop.

Be careful when using symbols from ancient religions or languages you they might have hidden meanings
Be careful when using symbols from ancient religions or languages you they might have hidden meanings
Evgeny says he was very young and naive and didn't look too much into the symbolism of his designs
Evgeny says he was very young and naive and didn't look too much into the symbolism of his designs
Evgeny performing in the role he was forced to leave because of some bad tattoo choices
Evgeny performing in the role he was forced to leave because of some bad tattoo choices

Evgeny Nikitin continues to perform professionally in the opera circuit but when you Google his name all that appears are stories about his so called Nazi support instead of his awesome work in opera. It just goes to show a bad tattoo can really have an effect on your career...so think wisely for your next design.

sarah_calavera

@Sarah Calavera

Skull obsessed tattoo fanatic, writer for Tattoodo, voice actor and visual artist who loves metal and headbanging. Inspired by Neil Gaiman, Tool, horror & the macabre.

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