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ATM this is not possible without iterating. We do have an open issue for this [MODE-1904] Add support for SQL Count function - JBoss Issue Tracker
There are some challenges in implementing this, especially in a repository which has ACLs enabled.
We are not using ACLs, so all the content is visible for everybody.
Can we access somehow to the underlaying Lucene objects to query for the total number of items? Do you think it's a possible?
Unfortunately there is no way to access this information, as the Lucene implementation is not exposed in any way.