Ça Ira (opera)

Ça Ira (French for "It will be all right", subtitled "There is Hope") is an opera by Roger Waters. It comes in three acts and is a concept album. The album is 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.[3][4][5] The album received mixed reviews, with critics praising the composition but criticising its plot and simplicity.

Ça Ira
Roger Waters-Ça Ira.jpg
Studio album by
Released26 September 2005
Recorded2 December 1988 – 29 August 2005
Genre
Length108:29
LabelSony Classical
Producer
  • Roger Waters
  • Rick Wentworth
Roger Waters chronology
Flickering Flame: The Solo Years Volume 1
(2002)
Ça Ira
(2005)
Roger Waters: The Wall
(2015)
Roger Waters studio chronology
Amused to Death
(1992)
Ça Ira
(2005)
Is This the Life We Really Want?
(2017)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic[1]
Rolling Stone[2]

HistoryEdit

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. On hearing it, an impressed François Mitterrand urged the Paris Opera to stage it for the bicentennial of the revolution the following July. The opera directors, however, were resistant. "It foundered on French chauvinism," Waters suggested. "The idea of an English bass player from a pop group creating something they might use in their celebrations stuck in the Gallic craw."[6] Starting in 1989, Waters rewrote the libretto in English.[5]

Critical reactionEdit

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]

PerformancesEdit

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 Kyiv 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]

DatesEdit

Date City Country Venue Ref.
16 October 2002 London England Royal Albert Hall (Overture only; benefit for Countryside Alliance) [9]
17 & 18 November 2005 Rome Italy Auditorium Parco della Musica [16]
26 August 2006 Poznań Poland Poznań International Fair Grounds [17]
16 December 2006 Kyiv Ukraine International Expo Congress Center [17]
30 December 2006 – 9 March 2007 (7 performances) Poznań Poland Poznań Opera House [18]
15 – 24 April 2008 (3 performances) Manaus Brazil Amazonas Theatre (Amazonas Opera Festival) [19]
5 May 2008 Den Haag Netherlands World Forum Theatre [19]
17 November 2010 Rotterdam Netherlands Nieuwe Luxor Theater [20]
2 – 9 May 2013 (4 performances) São Paulo Brazil São Paulo Municipal Theatre [21]
13 August 2013 Gothenburg Sweden Götaplatsen (Gothenburg Culture Festival) [21]
30 January 2015 Nashville USA Schermerhorn Symphony Center [23]

RecordingsEdit

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.

"I have no idea how many people it will appeal to," Waters remarked. "There's no way it's going to appeal to people in the [same] way [as] Dark Side of the Moon. It's a different animal. I'd like to say I don't care, but obviously I do."[24] In the event, the album spent 14 weeks on Billboard's Classical Chart in the United States and peaked at number 5.[25]

Track listing: Disc oneEdit

  1. The Gathering Storm – 1:38
  2. Overture – 4:06

Act 1Edit

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

Act 2Edit

  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 twoEdit

Act 3Edit

  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 certificationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Album review at AllMusic. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  2. ^ Album review Rolling Stone Archived 10 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Blake 2008, p. 373.
  4. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 324–325.
  5. ^ a b Anastasia Tsioulcas (27 August 2005). "Waters' new concept". Billboard. p. 45.
  6. ^ Pemberton, Andy (October 2005). "Access All Arias". Mojo. No. 143. p. 20.
  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 Kyiv 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. ^ a b "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. ^ a b "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.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ a b "2013 tour dates/concerts". Brain Damage – Pink Floyd News Resource. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  22. ^ "Roger Waters' Ça Ira – Nashville US premiere of opera update". Brain Damage – Pink Floyd News Resource. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  23. ^ "Pink Floyd news :: Brain Damage - Roger Waters' Ca Ira - Nashville US premiere of opera update".
  24. ^ Pemberton, Andy (October 2005). "Access All Arias". Mojo. No. 143. p. 20.
  25. ^ "Roger Waters: Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 26 March 2010. Select "Classical Albums" in the dropdown field.
  26. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  27. ^ "Wyróżnienia – Platynowe płyty CD - Archiwum - Przyznane w 2006 roku" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 5 January 2014.