NEW YORK: Kanye West is expanding his repertoire to include opera, premiering a new production entitled “Nebuchadnezzar” in Los Angeles on Nov 24.
West tweeted art announcing the new production that will feature music from his Sunday Service choir over the weekend, as southern California’s Hollywood Bowl venue said tickets would go on sale Monday.
Exactly what the opera, which is directed by Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft, will depict is unclear, but the title suggests it will focus on the ancient Babylonian king it’s named for.
West had discussed Nebuchadnezzar in a wide-ranging interview with Apple music while promoting his recently released gospel album and Imax film, “Jesus Is King”.
The mercurial rapper, who in recent months has shed his myriad personas to reveal himself as a born-again weaver of gospel and rap, described how the ancient ruler had inspired him, saying they had both been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“Nebuchadnezzar was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and he was still king,” West said.
“So not only was I diagnosed with mental illness, but mental illness was something that was used to … wash me out, to control me.”
The Bible does not explicitly mention “bipolar disorder”, a modern term, but the book of Daniel does describe Nebuchadnezzar as experiencing a period of mental instability and troubling dreams.
Some critics link West’s biblical shift to his tabloid-perfect outbursts, brush with politics, and struggles with mental health in recent years.
The Grammy-winning performer has openly discussed his battle with bipolar disorder, telling talk show host David Letterman this year: “I feel a heightened connection with the universe when I’m ramping up.”
“It’s like a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more. With us, once our brain gets to a point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse.”