Nitikin was forced to leave rehearsals and abandon the title
role just days before the opening of The Flying Dutchman and it
created a fire-storm of press coverage.
The very high-profile revelation of Nitikiin’a tattoo of the Nazi Party
symbol, the display of which is formally banned in Germany, embarrassed the
festival and the famed singer’s constantly changing story, dripped out over
days, gave the story legs it should never have had.
Some opera managers, including Munich’s Staatsoper and New York’s
Metropolitan Opera have already declared that this “youthful indiscretion”
would not bar his appearances on their stage. (The group he was singing with in
his teens was named the ““National Socialist Black Metal” band.) Even
Bayreuth’s managers, the team of Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier,
hinted that any ban would not necessarily be permanent.
The German press, however, has now been writing about the bad boy artist
Jonathan Meese, who has been hired to stage a new revival of Richard Wagner’s
final opera, Parsifal at the 2016 Wagner Festival at Bayreuth. He was
the subject of two German newspaper articles yesterday and today. Both articles
raise questions about his “Nazi fetish” — a constant theme in his body of
The artist’s home page, for example, has a photo of him giving a Nazi
salute during a panel discussion. Presumably, the same Bayreuth Festival
leadership that sent away the Russian baritone has not yet dealt with this
The artist-director’s website is www.jonathanmeese.com.
product_title=Another Bayreuth Stunner
product_by=By Frank Cadenhead
product_id=Above: Jonathan Meese