Speed Reads

The King and Kanye

Kanye West announces his first opera, Nebuchadnezzar

Kanye West is putting himself under an all-new spotlight. The rapper announced his first opera, Nebuchadnezzar, tweeting a picture of a gold foil opera program engraved with the heading "A Kanye West Opera."

Tickets are on sale for the matinee performance at The Hollywood Bowl on November 24.

The contents of the opera have not been made public but the title provides some insight. Nebuchadnezzar was a real person — a biblical king, in fact. He is featured in the Book of Daniel and regarded as one of the most famous Babylonian kings, ruling for 40 years. This is not the first time his story has been told in the operatic medium. As NPR noted, 1841's Nabucco (the Italian translation for Nebuchadnezzar) was an early work by composer Giuseppe Verdi, and was a passionate retelling of a king gone mad.

Vocal about his own struggles with mental health, West might find himself relating to his opera's protagonist, a complex character grappling with tangled self-perceptions of glory and fame. West recently spoke candidly in an interview on David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction about his bipolar disorder diagnosis along with paranoia.

The biblical roots of the narrative suit the superstar as he has also become very public with his relationship to God, from his infamous Sunday services to his comments in the media to his most recent album Jesus is King. Read more about the opera at NPR.