5 Highlights From Kanye West's 'Mary' Opera at New York's Lincoln Center

Kanye West
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Sean Combs

Kanye West attends Sean Combs 50th Birthday Bash presented by Ciroc Vodka on Dec. 14, 2019 in Los Angeles.

After a rocky premiere in Miami on Dec. 9, Kanye West's original "opera," Mary, made its way to New York City's Lincoln Center on Sunday (Dec. 22). Though this production had the same title as the Miami version, there were a few changes made to it. The songs were rearranged and placed in a different order than in the first production, and the silver outfits that made quite an impression in Miami were substituted out for skin-colored t-shirts and sweatpants reminiscent of his Yeezy line.  

The set was much more elaborate than the Miami production, with tall rows of what looked like wheat on either side of the stage concealing the orchestra, and an even taller bunch in the center of the stage underneath the choir, which was on a riser at the back. West spent the entirety of the performance sitting on a chair in front of a music stand downstage right (rather than behind a speaker) to narrate the performance. Additionally, each audience member was given a program complete with each biblical reading, as well as each of the songs being performed, so they could follow along throughout the show.

But like the Miami production, the Lincoln Center rendition started a little over an hour late, though the audience members didn't seem to mind. Lines wrapped around the lobby well past 8pm — when the show was slated to begin — with fans keeping an eye out for any possible celebrities. Though the audience was mostly comprised of young, fashion-forward and athleisure-donning fans (definitely not Lincoln Center's usual demographic), New Yorkers of all backgrounds and ages filed into the David Geffen Hall to see West's latest creation. 

In case you weren't able to snag a ticket and catch the performance in person for yourself, here are a few things you missed. 

Celebrities Came Out To Support 
Everyone from TV personality Gayle King, to comedian Michelle Wolf, to fashion designer Dapper Dan all came out to support. "In Harlem right now, I'm transitioning to get young people to understand the significance of the relationship of our [black] culture," said Dan of why he chose to attend the performance. "Not just fashion, but how everything ties together. Kanye is a key component, and I believe that [the work he's doing] is something that we really need to bring into focus for younger kids in Harlem." King even sat front row center, and smiled and waved as she walked by other attendees. 

North West Gets Into An "I Love You" Battle With The Audience
Though they tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, it was difficult to ignore the entrance of Kim Kardashian-West and three of her four children with West. Phones aimed up at their private box audience left as people tried to get photos of the family. Shortly after the lights dimmed to signal the start of the performance, an audience member toward the back of the theater yelled out, "I love you, Kim!" Kardashian-West didn't reply, but her oldest daughter, North, yelled back, "I love you too!" 

Other audience members started yelling out, "I love you!" and North responded back every single time. Eventually, someone yelled, "Shut the f--- up!", which put an abrupt halt to the lovefest… Until it started up again, of course. Finally, the swell of the opening music put a cork in the shouting for good.

"No Trumpet!"
There were significantly less technical and performance snafus during this performance — as opposed to the Miami one — there was one that definitely stood out. During scene six (a reading of Luke 2:1, 3-7), the orchestra and choir played a rendition of West's "Love Lockdown." As West started reading Luke 2:4, a trumpet started an eerie solo of sustained notes, and Kanye stopped mid-sentence to say into the microphone, "No trumpet!" The audience laughed uncomfortably as he continued reading through the passage as normal.

The Choir Steals The Show
From the first note of the show, the choir really commanded the audience's attention. Not only were they loud and powerful, but their harmonies blended effortlessly and they sang with such dramatic precision, it was impossible to not be impressed. Two particularly standout moments were during scenes nine and ten when they sang versions of "Little Drummer Boy" into "O Holy Night" and Power, respectively. Their synchronized riffs and perfectly-timed cutoffs caused the audience to erupt into spontaneous cheers and applause. 

Fans Were Impressed, Unsurprisingly
Many attendees left the show exclaiming how impressed they were with the performance. Fans like Drew Armstrong claimed that they had been following West's music since they were children, and that they would happily buy tickets to anything that he produced. Sam and Wayne, both of whom declined to share their last names, attended the show to experience West's music in a different setting than his usual concerts, and they were extremely happy that they had the opportunity to see his work in this new capacity.