Pink Floyd’s Waters swaps rock for opera
By Robin Pomeroy
ROME (Reuters) – Roger Waters delighted rock fans when Pink
Floyd played their first gig together for 24 years at July’s
Live8. On Thursday he was hoping to win over classical fans
with his first opera, 16 years in the making.
The singer, bass player and songwriter on classic albums
like “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall,” said he wanted his
French Revolution opera “Ca Ira” to have the same impact at its
world premiere in Rome as his stadium-filling rock anthems.
“It’s a different form but the intention is the same, still
just trying to create an emotional response, communicate a
feeling,” Waters said in an interview with Reuters at the end
of the opera’s dress rehearsal in Rome’s Music Park.
“I am writing for other voices that’s why it’s different. I
can’t sing this stuff.”
Waters has been working on the opera since 1989 — the
bicentenary of the French Revolution — when friends Etienne
and Nadine Roda-Gil, both now dead, asked him to set their
libretto about the historic events to music.
He met French songwriter Etienne in 1968 when student
revolts shook Paris. The rock star, whose career began amid the
psychedelia of the 1960s, plays down the era’s myth, but says
he still believes in revolutionary change for the better.
“I’m not sure that those days were particularly heady, but
there was in the late 60s a notion that by making a lot of
noise one could change things.”
The desire for change is still there, he says, although
young people’s idealism is these days in danger of being
subverted by religious bigotry — but despite the dark edge to
much of his work, he is an optimist.
He seemed to have little but pessimism, however, toward the
rest of Pink Floyd over the last two decades, and at one point
unsuccessfully sued the others to stop them using the band’s
They put their differences aside to play the Live8 concert
organized to campaign against world poverty. Waters says he
doubts the band will get back into the studio, but does not
rule out future concerts if the others agreed.
“(A reunion) is very unlikely. But it always was very
unlikely. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Live8, I did. I
thought it was great and I’d always be up for doing something
The foray into opera does not mean the young-looking
62-year-old is too old to rock. He is working on two new albums
and plans to tour in 2007. But for the meantime he hopes to see
“Ca Ira” performed again after the two shows in Rome this week.
“We had a letter yesterday from the mayor of Paris saying
we’ve got to get this thing on in Paris,” said Waters, who put
on one of the world’s biggest gigs in 1990, a version of “The
Wall” performed at Potsdamer Platz, after the Berlin Wall fell.
“I can’t think of anything I’d like to do more,” he said,
relishing the idea of a bigger stage for his classical work.
“Next summer, I can see it now, in the Place de la
Concorde, open air, you know, the same sort of thing, in French