The recording features baritone Bryn Terfel, tenor Paul Groves, and other singers from the opera world.
Ca Ira is set during early years of the French revolution; characters include Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, and Marie Marianne— "the Voice of Liberty, Reason, and the Republic." It uses a circus as "a central theatrical framing device and metaphor," according to a statement.
The libretto was first written, in French, by songwriter Etienne Roda-Gil and his wife Nadine to mark the bicentennial of the revolution in 1989. Waters began work on a score at the time, but stopped when Nadine Roda-Gil died of leukemia. In 1997, he took up the project again and completed an English translation.
"Although it's rooted in the history of the revolution, its philosophical slant is, I suppose, contemporary as well," Waters said in a statement. "It's more than just a history of the French Revolution, it's a piece about the human potential for change."
On the recording, Terfel plays the parts of Louis XVI, the Ringmaster, and the Troublemaker; soprano Ying Huang is Marie Antoinette and Marie Marianne. Groves is a Revolutionary Priest and a Military Officer; Nigerian pop singer Ismael Lo plays a Revolutionary Slave.
The opera will get its live premiere in at the Santa Cecilia Auditorium in Rome on November 17, with Waters conducting the Rome Symphony.
Waters was a founder of the band Pink Floyd, with which he helped create the "rock opera" The Wall, among other bestselling albums.