How do you like your eggs? Boiled, scrambled, poached?
We all have favourites, but in the end it's all eggs, isn't it. And so it is with Ca Ira; it's still Roger Waters.
Like many I came to this not as an opera fan, rather a fan of the man's work. I have been moved by it for over 25 years and was very curious to learn what this piece, a significant chunk of Water's creative life, is all about.
Fortunately my time has been rewarded. I enjoy it to the point where, several days of regular listening on, I'm haunted by and humming some of it. That subconscious process, more than direct listening, reveals the common thread that links this with other work such as The Wall, The Final Cut and Waters' solo albums. That's not to say this is chunks of old music put to new words, but as you might expect, the voice of the writer can be clearly heard. The curious thing is that in some ways Ca Ira makes me see things in the older work I had missed, blinded perhaps by those guitar solos.
So yes, I like it. No, it is not an instant sing-a-long (or should that be air guitar-a-long) rock classic, but it has great emotional depth. I found watching the dvd invaluable - it's a South Bank Show-style documentary and worth buying the edition with it included - followed by listening while reading the libretto a very useful way to get in to the piece. It covers long periods, big ideas and huge events (The French Revolution) and so is not likely to make you giggle and laugh, but then what Waters' material does? What it does do is make you think and, more importantly, make you feel.
25 years ago I repeatedly played The Wall while running a mental movie in my head, inspired by the music. Today I'm doing the same with Ca Ira. I can think of no better compliment.