Kanye West has announced his first-ever opera, Nebuchadnezzar. West took to Twitter to post artwork of a golden program that seemed to feature an engraving of the titular Babylonian king. However, the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute later confirmed to Pitchfork that the particular engraving used in the artwork was in fact of King Darius I (Darius the Great), an ancient ruler of Persia.
Kanye’s opera is directed by Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft and will take place at the Hollywood Bowl on November 24. The event will also feature music by Kanye’s Sunday Service performers, as well as Peter Colins & Infinities Song. Tickets for the opera were on sale starting Monday (November 18). Find the Nebuchadnezzar artwork (designed by Nick Knight) below.
A lot of speculation abounds on why West would do an Opera featuring King Nebuchadnezzar, but one person has probably come up with the closest link.
King Nebuchadnezzar is one of the more famous kings of ancient Babylon, ruling for over 40 years, from about 605 BC to 562 BC. He features in the Bible, specifically the Book of Daniel, chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Nebuchadnezzar, according to modern science was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, just like West. He went mad for a while and ate grass like wild animals until one day he acknowledged God.
Dan 4:34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Dan 4:36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
Dan 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
On October 24th, 2019, the day before the release of his album Jesus Is King, Kanye sat down for a nearly 2-hour interview with Zane Lowe.
37-minutes into the interview, West says, “Nebuchadnezzar was the king…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 would—I could talk to Jesus at the end of my show. I had (laughs) a guy dressed up as Jesus, at the end of my show.
West concludes this discussion of the Babylon king with: “Nebuchadnezzar was diagnosed with bipolar disorder…and he was still king!”
This would resonate with West. He was, at the end of 2016, diagnosed bipolar. And the writing had seemed to be on the wall.
Today, West has bounced back and he is probably leading a huge Sunday revival. His album Jesus is King was a major successive for the artist and his recent Sunday Service at Joel Osteen’s mega Lakewood church was another major talk around the world.