The French Revolution-themed opera has versions in French and in English.
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY
NEW YORK -- Although Roger Waters dabbled with operatic themes in Pink Floyd's "The Wall," he's never written a traditional opera -- until now.
Waters will debut "Ca Ira [There Is Hope]," his opera about the French Revolution, Sept. 27 with a double-CD and DVD project from Sony Music.
Though the production includes baritone Bryn Terfel and other classical music veterans, Waters believes "Ca Ira" might spark some skepticism from the classical music world.
"I'm in some state of trepidation because I feel that I'm putting my head on the chopping block," he told The Associated Press in an interview this week.
"It's actually very melodic and it's unashamedly emotional," he said. "So, if the intellectuals of the modern opera world are catty about it, so be it. I fully expect some resistance. There will be a lot of, 'Who does he think he is?'"
The idea for the opera came in 1989, around the time of the revolution's bicentennial, when songwriter Etienne Roda-Gil approached Waters with his libretto, illustrated by Roda-Gil's wife, Nadine.
"He wanted to know if he could use my old songs," Waters said. "I looked at it and sort of fell in love with it ... after six weeks I had a demo that was over two hours long."
The death of Roda-Gil's wife from leukemia halted work on the project, but Waters and Roda-Gil eventually began working together again. Waters wrote French and English versions.
He said the themes of "Ca Ira" are especially relevant today.
"It's not just a piece about the French Revolution, it's about revolution in a much broader sense, and it's about the capacity that human beings have for personal change," Waters said. "The piece is an exultation and an encouragement to those of us who believe the human race can discover its humanity and its capacity for empathy to the point where it may be possible for us at some point to guarantee the basic human rights of the individual [around the world]."
As for his rock career, Waters, 61, is working on new album. But those hoping for a Pink Floyd project after the group's reunion at the Live 8 concert in London will be disappointed.
"The chances of further developing with the Pink Floyd reunion are very slight," he said.
"The Live 8 reunion couldn't have been better, it was terrific, I was really glad it happened, we got along famously and it was absolutely fine, but [guitarist] Dave [Gilmour] and I do have major musical, philosophical, political and artistic differences," he said with a laugh.