Kanye West put the wrong emperor on his Nebuchadnezzar opera invite

It features Persian emperor Darius the Great, not the Babylonian king

Persian emperor Darius the Great Babylonian king Kanye West and the Nebuchadnezzar opera program
Kanye West and the Nebuchadnezzar program

    Kanye West announced his debut opera Nebuchadnezzar by sharing the invitation to the event — and fans immediately caught a major mistake in the artwork. Instead of the titular Babylonian king to which West’s opera pays tribute, the golden invite depicts the Persian emperor Darius the Great. A quick Google search of the monarch reveals the image is indeed of him.

    Shortly after Nebuchadnezzar was announced, several fans took to Twitter to point out the error. Culture critic Joobin Bekhrad wrote a mini-history lesson explaining not just who’s who in the artwork, but why the mixup is worse than it seems. “This is the #Persian emperor Darius the Great, as depicted in a relief at Persepolis in #Iran,” he tweeted. “Nebuchadnezzar was a Babylonian king who oppressed the Jews — who were later liberated by Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire.”

    Nebuchadnezzar is Kanye’s first-ever opera. It’s about Nebuchadnezzar, the longest-reigning monarch of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and a ruler to whom Kanye says he relates. The opera is directed by Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft and will feature music by Kanye’s Sunday Service performers, Peter Colins, and Infinite Song.


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    During an interview with Zane Lowe last month, Kanye revealed he was influenced by Nebuchadnezzar for his Yeezus tour. “[God] is saying, Let me take this Nebuchadnezzar-type character — Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, and he looked at his entire kingdom and said, ‘I did this,’” Kanye told the Beats 1 Radio host. “I stood on the top of the mountain talking about Yeezus, saying, ‘I’m a God.’ I had a guy dressed as Jesus!”

    Nebuchadnezzar opens at Hollywood Bowl on November 24th. No word yet on whether or not Kanye will get a history lesson before he tries to re-write it with the premiere. Tickets go on sale today at Noon local time, and you can also check here.


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