Kanye West recently turned music minister with his album, Jesus Is King has now launched an opera production derived from the Bible account by Daniel which shares the of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar and his transition from wicked, self-declared ruler to a true believer of God.
“Nebuchadnezzar,” the opera, premiered on Sunday in Los Angeles’ at the Hollywood Bowl. According to a press release about the production, it’s directed by Vanessa Beecroft and features singer Peter Collins, and the group Infinity’s Song as well as West’s popular gospel choir the Sunday Service collective.
“West conceived of this opera as an expression of his commitment to both his faith and ever-expanding musical palette. Nebuchadnezzar brings together elements from different worlds, including opera, fine art, modern dance, and gospel music, to create an innovative performance structure. West’s sound is the bridge between these art forms,” the press release revealed.
Several media outlets have reported on Sunday’s performance and said West was not at all the focal point of the opera. Hee was not seen at all until the very end, at the final bow. The fashion guru and Hip-hop artist instead served as the narrator for the show which started two hours after scheduled.
TMZ reported a packed audience on Sunday, with Brad Pitt among the celebrities in attendance.
“While the majority of the music from Nebuchadnezzar was new and original, familiar music from Kanye’s catalog was peppered into the operatic and choral performances. The hook from his Life of Pablo song “Wolves” was sung by the choir and prominently featured in the second half. Sheck Wes’ “Mo Bamba” and the 808s & Heartbreak song “Say You Will” were also listed in the setlist Kanye tweeted before the show began. Other titles included “Eternal Rest,” “Our King,” and “Wash Us in the Blood,” Pitchfork reported about some of the music used in the Opera.
Prior to his record-breaking Christ-centered album, Jesus Is King, West compared himself to King Nebuchadnezzar. In an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music’s Beats 1 he compared his Yeezus Tour to his ego crazed side of the Babylonian king.
“[God] is saying, Let me take this Nebuchadnezzar-type character—Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, and he looked at his entire kingdom and said, I did this,” West said, adding, “I stood on the top of the mountain talking about Yeezus, saying, ‘I’m a God’—I had a guy dressed as Jesus.”