Waters Completes Long-Gestating Opera

Former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters has completed work on a long-gestating project that tells the story of the French Revolution via modern opera.

Former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters has completed work on a long-gestating project that tells the story of the French Revolution via modern opera. "Ca Ira" will arrive Sept. 27 via Sony BMG Masterworks/Columbia as a two-disc Super Audio CD set bolstered by a behind-the-scenes DVD chronicling its creative evolution.

The roots of "Ca Ira" date back to 1989, when songwriter Etienne Roda-Gil and his wife Nadine completed the libretto. After being introduced to the couple by a mutual friend, Waters began writing an orchestral score for the project, but plans to proceed were put on hold after Nadine passed away from leukemia.

Waters resumed work on "Ca Ira" in 1997, writing an English version of the libretto. Although he does not perform on the recording, he served as co-producer with Rick Wentworth. Among the vocalists embodying such roles as Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI are Ying Huang, Paul Groves, Ismael Lo, Jamie Bower and Helen Russill.

"It is a brilliantly creative work," Sony Classical president Peter Gelb told Billboard in 1999. "Unlike some of the orchestral pop records I've heard that are unsuccessful because they just synthesize pop material, this is an organic work written for orchestra. But it is unmistakably a Roger Waters piece, with certain effects and an atmosphere that reminds you of some of his past work, including [Pink Floyd's] 'The Wall.'"

"Although it's rooted in the history of the revolution, its philosophical slant is, I suppose, contemporary as well," Waters says in a statement. "It's more than just a history of the French Revolution, it's a piece about the human potential for change."

A spokesperson says that at present, there are no plans for live performances of "Ca Ira."