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Yevgeny Nikitin, 38, is a Russian bass-baritone who sings both opera and heavy metal. Nikitin was born in Murmansk, Russia’s largest Arctic seaport. He studied at the State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg. While still a student, he was invited to sing at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater.
Nikitin is a highly accomplished artist who has sung some of the most challenging bass-baritone roles in leading opera houses around the world. He is best known for his Wagner roles: the Dutchman (Der Fliegende Holländer), Heinrich der Vogel (Lohengrin), Wotan (in Das Rheingold and Siegfried, but not yet in Die Walküre), Fasolt (Das Rheingold), Gunther (Götterdämmerung), and Amfortas (Parsifal).
Nikitin is also well-known for his leading roles in Russian operas, including: Ruslan (Ruslan and Ludmila), Boris Godunov, Shchelkalov, Rangoni (Boris Godunov), Shaklovity (Khovanshchina), Prince Igor, Vladimir Yaroslavich (Prince Igor), Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin), Tomsky (The Queen of Spades), and Aleko (Aleko).
His Mozart roles are Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) and Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni); his Richard Strauss roles are Jokanaan (Salome) and Orest (Elektra). For other roles, see his website.
In July, Nikitin withdrew under pressure from his highly-anticipated debut at the Bayreuth Festival, where he was to sing the role of the Dutchman in Der Fliegende Holländer. The reason for his departure is his tattoos.
You see, Nikitin is also a heavy metal musician, and like many in that subculture, he has covered his body with tattoos. But the Bayreuth Festival objected to two tattoos in particular: a swastika and a life rune, both of which were associated with National Socialism. In a statement, Nikitin claimed that the tattoos were “spiritual” rather than “political” in nature. Of course the two categories are not mutually exclusive. Nordic paganism and National Socialism are both found in the Heavy Metal subculture.
Unfortunately, such disgusting displays of political correctness happen daily in Occupied Germany.
The video above is in Russian, and unfortunately there are no subtitles. (If you wish to help produced a subtitled version, please contact me.) But it does serve as an introduction to Nikitin’s music.