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An Opera by Roger Waters

Roger Waters Opera CA IRA was originally due in Stores Sept. 27 2005. Though in Mid-May 2005, REG was given an exclusive heads up regarding the long awaited release of Roger Waters Opera Ca Ira, on May 26th the official Sony press release for Ca Ira appeared on Roger Waters official web site ( and regarding it's release in the USA and Canada.

This all comes on top of other recent Roger Waters interviews and reports stating that Ca Ira is finally complete and sent to Sony Classical for manufacture and release.

Roger has been working on the Ca Ira opera for near 20 years, and now it looks like we all will finally be able to hear this wonderful classical piece. Ca Ira was written for an 84 piece orchestra, three soloists (tenor, baritone and soprano) and an adult and children's choir. The libretto was originally written by Frenchman Etienne Roda Gil, but has since been re-written in English by Roger. And as REG contacts previously stated "...because of its length, it is likely to be a double album or two single albums. I am currently investigating a prestigious venue for a world premiere performance."

As many fans know, Ca Ira has been scheduled for release and then postponed several times in the past several years.

There have however been debuts of parts and pieces of the work. The first live performance of (part of) Ca Ira - was at the Royal Albert Hall on October 16th 2002.

On Saturday May 1st, 2004 a 15 minute premier of CA IRA was played in Malta, the minute of Malta's ascension into the European Union. This was not a live rendering of the piece by an orchestra, but was a recording played through a massive sound system. Three parts of the overall opera were played, sequenced together by Gert Hoff. Starting with the Overture, (as previously performed at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2002), and then a short two minute piece called "The Taking Of Bastille", after which was heard a wonderful eight minute piece entitled "Silver, Sugar, and Indigo" (These items were key trading commodities at the time of the French Revolution, and were commonly used in exchange for slaves. Indigo was used as a dye, and was much in demand.) Though Roger did not attend the event, it was a fantastic premier.

More recently, on August 7th 2004, 'The Letter' and 'The Taking Of Bastille,' were performed live, with orchestra and singers, for a benefit at The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival in Bridgehampton New York. Roger was in attendance and spoke at the podium about his work.

This year, in a small article/interview with Roger Waters entitled 'Breaking Waters,' published in the February issue of Mojo Magazine, Roger confirms that Ca Ira has been completed and delivered to Sony Classical. He states that the operatic piece is 100 minutes in length, and consists of three acts, which feature five solo parts and children's and adult choruses. Roger further describes the opera as being, "About revolution in general and the potential for human beings to evolve." The article also confirms that the opera will be available in both French and English languages.

Roger Waters also confirms in the article that he is about half way through completing a new rock album. Roger is also quoted as saying, "I've recorded a lot of songs," and "The record will be very political."

In an even more recent interview in the May 2005 edition of Rolling Stone Magazine Roger again confirms 'Ca Ira is complete and that he may conduct a planned performance in Rome later this year.

As for his new solo rock album, Roger says that he is still working on it, although, he could, "cobble something together and put it out tomorrow," and that he "Keep's smashing paint up against the canvas and waiting for it to make sense."

Roger Waters Wraps Opera
Pink Floyd Vet Still Tinkering With Rock Album Former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters has completed Ca Ira, his long-awaited opera. After a decade of work on the project, Waters reports that "it's done and delivered" and should be available as a double-CD through Sony Classical this fall.

Ca Ira - loosely translated as "So It Will Be" - was inspired by the French Revolution and is the latest conceptual work from the mastermind of The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and The Wall (1979).

Waters is considering staging Ca Ira as a concert performance in Rome this November with a full symphony, as well as adult and children's choruses. "I might conduct it," he says. "Wouldn't that be a buzz? Of course, I might need a few beta blockers before going on."

Waters has also long been at work on a rock album to follow 1992's Amused to Death, his examination of capitalism and mindless entertainment. Although he's recorded enough songs to "cobble something together and put it out tomorrow," Waters is aiming for a more coherent collection of songs. "I just keep smashing paint up against the canvas and waiting for it to make sense," he says. While initially a meditation on love, the album has evolved to incorporate current world events. "Living in America now, I'm struggling with all those questions — about the law, the Constitution, what's next for mankind and whether there's any moral high-ground to be had," Waters says. "Actually, it's all the same stuff I've been obsessed with since I was a teenager [laughs], so nothing new, really."

(Below is the May 26th Columbia Records press release:)

Sony BMG Masterworks/Columbia Records Readies the Release Of Roger Waters' Long-Awaited Opera, 'Ca Ira'

Lavish First Edition DigiPack Includes Full Opera on Two Hybrid SACDs, Bonus "Making Of 'Ca Ira'" DVD, & 60-Page Four-Color Booklet Containing Libretto, Cast Credits, & Original Illustrations

NEW YORK, May 26 — Sony BMG Masterworks/Columbia Records is proud to announce the release of "Ca Ira," Roger Waters long-awaited "operatic history of the French Revolution," on Tuesday, September 27.

The lavish first edition of "Ca Ira," an opera in three acts for full orchestra, soloists and choirs, will include a double SACD DigiPack and a deluxe 60 page four-color booklet including Roger Waters' lyrics based on Etienne Roda-Gil's original French libretto, the original illustrations created by Nadine Roda-Gil, biographies of Waters and the opera's cast, background and production notes on the opera.

As a bonus for Roger Waters fans, "Ca Ira" includes a special DVD documentary chronicling the "making of" the opera. The "Ca Ira" DVD traces the history of the project, from conception to completion, and includes revelatory interviews with Waters and the musicians and cast of "Ca Ira" as well as exclusive in-the-studio footage of the recording of the opera. "Ca Ira" is being released in the hybrid SACD (Super Audio CD) format in Dolby Digital 5.1 SurroundSound. The hybrid SACD disks are compatible with standard CD players.

Waters, who co-founded the groundbreaking rock group Pink Floyd in 1966, began to bridge the worlds of rock and classical music in such pioneering major works as "The Dark Side Of The Moon" (1973) and "The Wall" (1979) in which he incorporated elements of operatic form - theatricality, coherent narrative, dramatic arcs, thematic music and song cycles - in a pop context.

Waters' work on "Ca Ira," his first opera for full orchestra and voice, began in 1989, during the Bicentennial of the French Revolution. The well-respected and successful songwriter Etienne Roda-Gil and his wife, Nadine, had created an original libretto for an opera, written in French, as part of the Bicentennial. Entitled "Ca Ira," after a revolutionary song of the period, the Roda-Gil's original manuscript, copiously and beautifully illustrated by Nadine, portrayed the events and the spirit of the French Revolution through a multitude of perspectives—ranging from Marie Antoinette to the eyes and ears of the period's revolutionaries and common people—using a circus as a central theatrical framing device and metaphor.

Introduced to Etienne Roda-Gil by a mutual friend, Waters was immediately and deeply impressed by the passion and the power of Etienne's manuscript and began work on creating a full orchestral score for "Ca Ira." Work on the project was suspended when Nadine died tragically of leukemia. Several years passed before Roger and Etienne returned to "Ca Ira."

In 1997, Roger began writing an English version of the text. "It's not just a translation," he says. "I've stuck very much to the spirit of Etienne's original, adding to it somewhat. Although it's rooted in the history of the revolution, its philosophical slant is, I suppose, contemporary as well. It's more than just a history of the French Revolution, it's a piece about the human potential for change."

The finished version of "Ca Ira" features orchestration and choral arrangements by Rick Wentworth and Roger Waters, also the album's producers. Principal characters in the opera are brought to life by the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel (the Ringmaster, the Troublemaker, Louis Capet - the King of France); internationally acclaimed soprano Ying Huang (Marie Marianne - the Voice of Liberty, Reason and the Republic, Marie Antoinette - the Queen of France); American tenor Paul Groves (A Revolutionary Priest, A Military Officer); and Nigerian "one man orchestra" Ismael Lo (a Revolutionary Slave).

Other parts are sung by Jamie Bower (Honest Bird - the young Revolutionary Priest) and Helen Russill (Madame Antoine - the young Marie Antoinette). Before the rise and fall of the guillotine, before the terror took hold, the People of France fought for a better world based on the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity rather than one ruled by a callous and outmoded nobility. It is this story of hope and promise that inspired "Ca Ira." Set during the optimistic early days of the French Revolution, "Ca Ira is a work of stunning power and beauty, invoking the passion, madness, and triumph of faith in a time that forever changed the nature of the world.

On a side note, it was during the French Revolution, which began in 1789, that various components of the French citizenry were emancipated from a perceived society of servitude to the bougoisi. It was in this context that the Jewish Question was also debated. Conservatives, such as philosopher/playwright Volaire, opposed the liberal tenets of the Revolution, and maintained that Jews should remain separate and not be given equal civil status with French citizens. The liberal and radical leaders, however, argued that all people, including Jews, should be entitled to the rights of citizenship. In 1791, the National Assembly voted for the rights of citizenship to be extended to Jews. A year later, a Jew was elected to the National Assembly. Thus, the Revolution emancipated all peoples of France ensuruing them equal freedoms and civil rights.



Ca Ira



More REG Articles About Ca Ira:
CA IRA at Malta EU Celebration?

CA IRA in Malta

CA IRA Due In Fall 2005

CA IRA Release in September 05

Roger at CA IRA Event In New York

CA IRA Debuts at #1 - Premiers in Rome

Ca Ira to be performed in Poland

CA IRA in Kiev and again in Poland

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