On Sunday (Nov. 24), Kanye West brought his first-ever opera, Nebuchadnezzar, to the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. ‘Ye narrated the story from offstage, reading from the Book of Daniel, while Sheck Wes starred as the role of the ancient Babylon king.
Ye’s Sunday Service filled out the majority of the musical ensemble, along with Peter Collins & Infinities Song. The choir sang the familiar hook from Kanye’s Life of Pablo song “Wolves,” “Eternal Rest,” “Our King,” “Wash Us in the Blood,” 808s & Heartbreak’s “Say You Will” and Sheck’s “Mo Bamba.”
The choir wore all white and Sheck dressed in a large blue poncho with white sandals. Although he did not appear during the production, ‘Ye did join his cast for bows after the show.
Kanye tweeted entries from the Book of Daniel as well as exclusive backstage photos, one showing Nebuchadnezzar’s director and longtime collaborator, Vanessa Beecroft.
In other tweets, Kanye shared the opera’s set list and attendees, including Chance the Rapper.
According to a press release, the opera was set in 6th century B.C. and told “the biblical story from the Book of Daniel of the Babylonian king who transitions from wicked, imperious, self-declared ruler to a true believer who finds salvation in his faith.”
“West conceived of this opera as an expression of his commitment to both his faith and ever-expanding musical palette,” the press release continued. “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 artforms.”
“Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, and he looked at his entire kingdom and said, ‘I did this.’ And God said, ‘Are you for real? You did this?’ Sounds kind of similar doesn’t it? I’m standing on the top of the mountain, talking about Yeezus, saying, ‘I did this.’ That I’m a God,” he told Lowe. “Nebuchadnezzar was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and he was a king!”
The opera serves as Kanye’s latest religious performance. He last brought his Sunday Service to Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston.
Nebuchadnezzar was live-streamed by TIDAL. Catch clips from the performance via TIDAL’s Twitter below.