Kanye West’s latest project, ‘Nebuchadnezzar’, continues his biblical journey. The opera is set to be performed at the Hollywood Bowl alongside music from Sunday Service.
Yesterday, hip hop artist and fashion designer,
Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West Kanye West took to twitter to announce his first official opera titled ‘Nebuchadnezzar’. Directed by Italian performance artist, Vanessa Beecroft, the opera is set to be performed on November 24, marking Kanye’s second project this year.
Invite artwork by Nick Knight pic.twitter.com/U7IBqe1Gxk
— ye (@kanyewest) November 17, 2019
So, who is Nebuchadnezzar?
Nebuchadnezzar served as the King of Babylon from 605 B.C. to 562 B.C. following the passing of former king and his father, Nabopolassar who was pivotal in the rebellion against the Assyrian empire.
“Nebuchadnezzar was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and he was still king” said West via Zane Lowe Beats 1 Radio.
Following his rise to power, Nebuchadnezzar seized the city of Jerusalem in 597 BC. And it is here where his four-part story begins in the Biblical text, Book of Daniel.
The siege of Jerusalem sees Daniel chosen as one of the Israelites to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. The King places Israelites in training in order to help them adapt to Babylonian culture, however, upon completion, Nebuchadnezzar realises Daniel is one of the more knowledgeable Israelites.
In the second chapter or part of the King’s story, he encounters a disturbing dream. Nebuchadnezzar is unable to sleep following his dream and requests that his magicians and enchanters help interpret his dream. However, he refuses to explain the events that transpired in the dream and grows frustrated when they are unable to interpret his dream.
Despite their requests, Nebuchadnezzar repeatedly refuses to explain his dream and eventually orders the death of the magicians and enchanters after becoming infuriated.
Daniel is also sentenced to the death decree although he was not present during the King’s outburst. This result’s in Daniel questioning the order for his death. The situation is then explained to Daniel, whom eventually goes on to correctly interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, saving himself from the death penalty.
In response to Daniel’s interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar builds a golden statue that everyone must worship. However, Daniel’s three friends do not worship the idol and Nebuchadnezzar arranges for them to be thrown into a furnace.
They back up their decision by saying that their own Jewish is enough to protect them from the furnace and they do not need to worship the King’s false idol.
The three friends are then tossed into the furnace, however, it appears that there are four figures in the furnace. Nebuchadnezzar then calls the three friends out of the furnace and they emerge unscathed.
This surprises the King and from then on he places a ban on blasphemy against the Jewish God as he is certain that their God saved them from death.
Following the furnace incident, it appears that Nebuchadnezzar experiences another disturbing dream. In this dream, Nebuchadnezzar envisions a large tree that provides shelter and food for animals.
However, the tree is ordered to be cut down by a “holy watcher” from Heaven. The “holy watcher” makes it clear to Nebuchadnezzar that the tree represents a human. The “holy watcher” then tells the King that the tree will have his mind changed from a human to that of a beast, and will remain that way for seven years.
Once again, Daniel interprets the dream for the King. He informs the King that the dream is a representation of what is to come. Nebuchadnezzar is the tree that provides shelter and food to his people, however, he is about to be cut down and transformed into a beastly state of mind for seven years.
Daniel assures him that while he may not be able to avoid his fate, he can atone for his sins by becoming righteous. However, Nebuchadnezzar continues to praise himself for
Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar loses control as the predicted. Growing out his hair and toenails, the King is brought down to his lowest point for seven whole years. And following these seven years, Nebuchadnezzar regains control and confesses that God is the highest power.
Nebuchadnezzar finishes off the final part by reciting a hymn, saying God “is able to bring low, those who walk in pride”.
Apart from the artwork, not much has been revealed about the play. While it could follow the story of Nebuchadnezzar himself, Kanye could also simply be inspired by his story. After all, Kanye is the same artist that put out albums titled ‘Yeezus‘ and ‘Jesus Is King’.
“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.” said West via Zane Lowe Beats 1 Radio.
On the Netflix original, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the 42-year-old artist described his experiences with bipolar episodes – a condition he has been vocal about in recent years.
Kanye has never been one to shy away from new avenues – from the Yeezy to Sunday Service, linear production has never appealed to The College Dropout. ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ could be the start of a new direction for ‘The Louis Vuitton Don’.
What do you think about Kanye’s latest endeavor? Let us know in the comments down below!