Kanye West Debuts Biblical Opera ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ At Hollywood Bowl
By Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor
Newly converted rapper Kanye West debuted his opera, “Nebuchadnezzar: A Kanye West Opera,” at the historic Hollywood Bowl this past weekend.
“Nebuchadnezzar” was a Babylonian king who ruled over Jews in captivity, including the Old Testament prophet Daniel.
West loves the Old Testament, as he told megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen recently. According to West’s Twitter account, the opera specifically addressed well-known biblical passages, including Nebuchadnezzar throwing three young men in a fiery furnace, as well as Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams that only Daniel could interpret.
The event worked like this: West stood stage right and emphatically narrated, from his annotated Book of Daniel, the story of the Babylonian king who went from being wicked to finding salvation; with emphasis on dreams, a fiery furnace and the worship of a golden image. Singers and dancers in all-white robes (save for the role of Nebuchadnezzar, who writhed and sang in blue) sat above and moved below a wooden ramp at the center of the Hollywood Bowl.
Performers interpreted West’s words with dance movements that looked like gentle waveforms, and layered vocals that overflowed the amphitheater. The show had only a few props, among them: a tree branch, masks (that couldn’t be seen from afar) and a long table. Otherwise, the set was sparse with zero breaks; but one grand, smoke-filled finale where West encouraged his audience to stand up and raise their hands. They, and cast members who poured out into the aisles, largely obliged.
Chance The Rapper, a friend of West’s and a fellow Christian, came to support West, as did popular Bethel music artist and pastor, Jeremy Riddle.
In the future, West plans to continue using his platform in the entertainment industry to glorify God. A few weeks ago, while at Osteen’s church in Houston, West declared that he and other notable producers are working on more Christ-centered music.
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