Making Mistakes Indelible

Michael Medved

8/3/2012 2:07:00 PM - Michael Medved
The world of Grand Opera is usually associated with complex artistry, soaring emotion and elegance –not with giant swastika tattoos on chests of leading performers. At the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, a rising star was forced to withdraw from his title role in “The Flying Dutchman” when press photos showed the Nazi symbol tattooed across his chest when he sang as a young man in a heavy metal band. Russian bass-baritone Yevgeny Nikitin said it was a “youthful mistake,” but became instantly unwelcome at an opera house that’s tried hard to escape its heavy associations with Hitler and anti-Semitism. Why a Russian singer would want to honor the evil regime that slaughtered 20 million of his countrymen remains unanswered. The bizarre episode reminds us that everyone makes youthful mistakes, but inscribing them on your flesh makes them indelible.