Ça Ira (opera)

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This article is about the opera by Roger Waters. For the French revolutionary song, see Ça Ira. For the range of French warships, see French ship Ça Ira.
Ça Ira
Studio album by Roger Waters
Released 26 September 2005
Recorded 2 December 1988 – 29 August 2005
Genre Classical, opera
Length 108:29
Label Sony Classical
Producer Roger Waters and Rick Wentworth
Roger Waters chronology
Flickering Flame: The Solo Years Volume 1
(2002)
Ça Ira
(2005)
Roger Waters studio chronology
Amused to Death
(1992)
Ça Ira
(2005)
TBA
(2015)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[3]

Ça Ira (French for "It'll be fine", subtitled "There is Hope") is an opera in three acts by Roger Waters based on the French libretto co-written by Étienne and Nadine Roda-Gil on the historical subject of the early French Revolution. Ça Ira was released 26 September 2005, as a double CD album featuring baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Ying Huang, and tenor Paul Groves.[4][5][6]

History[edit]

Waters, known for his work in the English rock band Pink Floyd, was approached by friends Étienne Roda-Gil and his wife Nadine Delahaye in 1987, and asked to set their libretto to music. The initial version was completed and recorded by the end of 1988. After hearing it, François Mitterrand was suitably impressed and urged the Paris Opera to stage it for the bicentennial of the revolution the following July. The opera directors, however, were resistant, according to Waters, because "I was English, and I had been in a rock group." Starting in 1989, Waters rewrote the libretto in English.[6]

Critical reaction[edit]

Ça Ira has received mixed reviews. The biggest criticisms were that the opera is too narrative, which makes staging very difficult – and, as a result, disrupts the flow of the piece. Others have complained that the score is too conventional and that Waters should have taken more risks with it.[7]

Performances[edit]

The first time any part of Ça Ira was heard in public was on 16 October 2002 when the Overture was performed live at the Royal Albert Hall in London[8] by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, during a benefit gala for the Countryside Alliance.[9]

The next public airing (not a live performance, but a recording played through a sound system) took place in Malta on 1 May 2004,[10] the night that Malta entered the European Union. An approximately 15-minute long excerpt was heard by 80,000 people present at the waterfront of the Grand Harbour. The music was accompanied by a light show by Gert Hoff.[11]

The official premiere took place in Rome on 17 November 2005, in front of a sold-out crowd, and was followed the next evening by another performance. Both shows were praised for the high quality of music, vocal performances, and sound. The choir, orchestra, and soloists were complemented by a projection screen backdrop which displayed images (some photographed by Mark Holthusen) helping to tell the story.[12]

A full operatic performance took place on 25 August 2006 in Poznań, Poland, and was televised live on Poland's TVP. The project involved the same number of musicians from the concert performances in addition to more than 200 dancers from the Great Theatre in Poznań. There were also period elements of stage design (such as horses, carriages and war scenes with soldiers and stunt performers) and full costumes. Over 500 artists were involved, and the production reportedly cost in excess of €2 million.[13] Performances were held in Kiev on 16 December, and at the Poznań Opera House on 30 and 31 December 2006.[14]

In April 2008, the opera was performed, with the libretto in English, as part of the Festival Amazonas de Ópera in Manaus, Brazil by the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra and choir.[15]

Dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue Ref.
16 October 2002 London England Royal Albert Hall (Overture only; benefit for Countryside Alliance) [9]
17 November 2005 Rome Italy Auditorium Parco della Musica [16]
18 November 2005
26 August 2006 Poznań Poland Poznań International Fair Grounds [17]
16 December 2006 Kiev Ukraine International Expo Congress Center
30 December 2006 Poznań Poland Poznań Opera House
31 December 2006
4 January 2007 [18]
28 January 2007
18 February 2007
8 March 2007
9 March 2007
15 April 2008 Manaus Brazil Amazonas Theatre (Amazonas Opera Festival) [19]
22 April 2008
24 April 2008
5 May 2008 Den Haag Netherlands World Forum Theatre
17 November 2010 Rotterdam Nieuwe Luxor Theater [20]
2 May 2013 São Paulo Brazil São Paulo Municipal Theatre [21]
4 May 2013
7 May 2013
9 May 2013
13 August 2013 Gothenburg Sweden Götaplatsen (Gothenburg Culture Festival)
30 January 2015 Nashville USA Schermerhorn Symphony Center [22]

Recordings[edit]

The 2005 release was available in three formats:[9]

  • A three-disc set with regular CD and Super Audio (SACD) stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound versions. Disc 3 was a DVD with a 55-minute documentary by Adrian Maben, showing Waters at work on the opera. This also included a 60-page book with libretto and credits, and illustrations by Nadine Roda-Gil.
  • A two-disc set with regular audio CDs, including libretto and illustrations in CD-ROM format.
  • A two-disc set in the original French.

The album spent 14 weeks on Billboard's Classical Chart in the United States and peaked at number 5.[23]

Track listing: Disc one[edit]

Act One[edit]

  1. "The Gathering Storm" – 1:38
  2. "Overture" – 4:06
  3. "Scene 1: A Garden in Vienna 1765" – 0:53
  4. "Madame Antoine, Madame Antoine" – 2:53
  5. Scene 2: Kings Sticks and Birds – 2:41
  6. "Honest Bird, Simple Bird" – 2:10
  7. "I Want to Be King" – 2:37
  8. "Let Us Break All the Shields" – 1:45
  9. Scene 3: The Grievances of the People – 4:40
  10. Scene 4: France in Disarray – 2:34
  11. "To Laugh is to Know How to Live" – 1:44
  12. "Slavers, Landlords, Bigots at Your Door" – 3:36
  13. Scene 5: The Fall of the Bastille – 1:34
  14. "To Freeze in the Dead of Night" – 2:19
  15. "So to the Streets in the Pouring Rain" – 4:17

Act Two[edit]

  1. Scene 1: Dances and Marches – 2:11
  2. "Now Hear Ye!" – 2:18
  3. "Flushed With Wine" – 4:31
  4. Scene 2: The Letter – 1:39
  5. "My Dear Cousin Bourbon of Spain" – 2:48
  6. "The Ship of State is All at Sea" – 1:46
  7. Scene 3: Silver Sugar and Indigo – 0:55
  8. "To The Windward Isles" – 4:50
  9. Scene 4: The Papal Edict – 1:17
  10. "In Paris There's a Rumble Under the Ground" – 6:19

Track listing: Disc two[edit]

Act Three[edit]

  1. Scene 1: The Fugitive King – 2:21
  2. "But the Marquis of Boulli Has a Trump Card Up His Sleeve" – 4:27
  3. "To Take Your Hat Off" – 2:40
  4. "The Echoes Never Fade from That Fusillade" – 3:15
  5. Scene 2: The Commune de Paris – 2:43
  6. "Vive la Commune de Paris" – 3:16
  7. "The National Assembly is Confused" – 2:41
  8. Scene 3: The Execution of Louis Capet – 1:39
  9. "Adieu Louis for You It's Over" – 3:45
  10. Scene 4: Marie Antoinette – The Last Night on Earth – 1:39
  11. "Adieu My Good and Tender Sister" – 5:09
  12. Scene 5: Liberty – 2:51
  13. "And in the Bushes Where They Survive" – 6:52

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Roger Waters' Ca Ira - Nashville US premiere of opera update". Brain Damage - Pink Floyd News Resource. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Album review at AllMusic. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  3. ^ Album review Rolling Stone[dead link][dead link]
  4. ^ Blake 2008, p. 373.
  5. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 324-325.
  6. ^ a b Billboard Aug 27, 2005. Google Books. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Kozinn, Allan (28 September 2005). "When Rockers Show Classical Chops". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "Ça Ira - an opera by Roger Waters". rogerwaters.org. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd - The Music and the Mystery. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9781849383707. 
  10. ^ "EU welcomes 10 new members". CNN. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  11. ^ "Ça Ira at Malta EU celebration". REG - The International Roger Waters Fan Club. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Ça Ira premiers in Rome". REG - The International Roger Waters Fan Club. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Roger Waters Tour 2006 - 25 August Ça Ira - Poznan International Fair - Poland". pinkfloydz.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "Ça Ira in Kiev and again in Poland". REG - The International Roger Waters Fan Club. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "Ça Ira - Brazil 2008". A Fleeting Glimpse. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "2005 tour dates/concerts". Brain Damage - Pink Floyd News Resource. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "2006 tour dates/concerts". Brain Damage - Pink Floyd News Resource. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "2007 tour dates/concerts". Brain Damage - Pink Floyd News Resource. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "2008 tour dates/concerts". Brain Damage - Pink Floyd News Resource. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "2010 tour dates/concerts". Brain Damage - Pink Floyd News Resource. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  21. ^ "2013 tour dates/concerts". Brain Damage - Pink Floyd News Resource. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ "Roger Waters: Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 26 March 2010.  Select "Classical Albums" in the dropdown field.
  24. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLIS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  25. ^ "Polish album certifications – Roger Waters – Ça Ira" (in Polish). Polish Producers of Audio and Video (ZPAV).