FILE – In this June 9, 2012 file photo Russian baritone Evgeny Nikitin poses at a hotel in Berlin, Germany. Nikitin was due to sing the lead role in Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” when the annual Bayreuth opera festival opens next week has withdrawn from the event after it emerged that he once had Nazi-related symbols tattooed on his body. Festival organizers said Saturday, July 21, 2012 that Nikitin made his decision amid questions from a German newspaper on the significance of some of his tattoos. (AP Photo/dapd, Christoph Soeder,File)
BERLIN (AP) — The Bayreuth opera festival says bass-baritone Samuel Youn has stepped in to take the lead role in “The Flying Dutchman,” the annual event’s opening production, after Evgeny Nikitin withdrew when it emerged he once had Nazi-related symbols tattooed on his body.
The festival on Sunday listed Youn, who studied in Seoul, Milan and Cologne and has previously performed at Bayreuth, as the lead performer in the production, which opens Wednesday. Youn already had been foreseen as a backup in case Nikitin fell ill.
Nikitin, who is from Russia, withdrew from the festival dedicated to composer Richard Wagner’s work on Saturday. He said getting the tattoos years ago was a serious mistake and that he was “not aware of the extent of the confusion and hurt that these symbols would cause.”