Kanye West Announces First Opera 'Nebuchadnezzar' - Rolling Stone
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Kanye West Plots ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ Opera at Hollywood Bowl

Show named for ancient Babylonian king will take place November 24th

Kanye West, answers questions from Sr. pastor Joel Osteen, during the 11 am service at Lakewood Church, in HoustonLakewood Church’s 11am service, Houston, USA - 17 Nov 2019Kanye West, answers questions from Sr. pastor Joel Osteen, during the 11 am service at Lakewood Church, in HoustonLakewood Church’s 11am service, Houston, USA - 17 Nov 2019

Kanye West will stage a new opera, 'Nebuchadnezzar,' at the Hollywood Bowl later this month.

Michael Wyke/AP/Shutterstock

UPDATE: Kanye West offered a few more details about his upcoming opera, Nebuchadnezzar, which will be based on the biblical story of the Babylonian king. Per a statement, “Set in the 6th Century BC, the Book of Daniel recounts Nebuchadnezzar’s transition from wicked, imperious, self-declared ruler to a true believer who finds salvation in his faith.” The show will reportedly boast a mix of opera, fine art, modern dance and gospel music. The opera will stream live for Tidal subscribers at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST.


Kanye West will premiere a new opera, Nebuchadnezzar, named for the ancient Babylonian king, November 24th at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

The show will be directed by performance artist Vanessa Beecroft and feature music from West’s Sunday Service choir. The gold-plated invite for the show (designed by Nick Knight) also lists music from Peter Colins & Infinities Song, although it’s possible the latter is a typo for Infinity’s Song, a family band West has supported in recent months.

On Twitter, the Hollywood Bowl confirmed the Nebuchadnezzar opera and said tickets will go on sale Monday, November 18th, at noon.

It’s unclear whether West’s Nebuchadnezzar opera will retell the story of the Babylonian king and biblical character, or if it was just inspired by his story. In his recent interview with Zane Lowe, West brought up Nebuchadnezzar and explained how parts of his story resonated with him.

“Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, and he looked at his entire kingdom and said, ‘I did this.’ And God said, ‘Oh, for real? You did this?’ Sounds kind of similar, right? I’m standing on the tip of the mountain talking about Yeezus. Saying, ‘I did this!’ That I’m a god! And I could talk to Jesus at the end of my show. I had a guy dressed up as Jesus, at the end of my show.”

West also said that Nebuchadnezzar, like himself, was diagnosed with bipolar disease (although that term isn’t used in the Bible, in chapter four of the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream where a holy messenger says, “Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal,” and indeed the king is humbled, and lives the next seven years like an animal in the forest).

“Nebuchadnezzar was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and he was still king,” West said. “So not only was I diagnosed with mental illness, but mental illness was something that was used to…to wash me out, to control me.”

West’s Nebuchadnezzar opera follows the release of his latest album, Jesus Is King, and its accompanying IMAX film of the same name. On Sunday, West also appeared at the megachurch of pastor Joel Osteen, where he said, “I told you about my arrogance and cockiness already. Now the greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for him.”

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