OP2663. LES DEUX JOURNÉES (in German, as 'Der Wasserträger' (Cherubini), Broadcast Performance, 1962, w.Hans Müller-Kray Cond. Stuttgart Südfunk Ensemble; Fritz Wunderlich, Hildegard Hillebrecht, Marcel Cordes, etc. (E.U.) Archipel 0539. - 4035122405392
“’LES DEUX JOURNÉES, ou Le porteur d'eau’ (The Two Days, or The Water Carrier) is an opera in three acts by Luigi Cherubini with a libretto by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly. It takes the form of an opéra comique, meaning not that the subject matter is humorous, but that the piece is a mixture of spoken dialogue and musical numbers. Bouilly claimed he took the story from a real life incident during the French Revolution but, for fear of censorship, he moved the action back to 1647 and the time of Cardinal Mazarin. The opera was first performed at the Théâtre Feydeau in Paris on 16 January 1800.
LES DEUX JOURNÉES is sometimes considered Cherubini's most successful opera, though revivals have been rare in the past hundred years. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Ludwig van Beethoven both felt that Bouilly's libretto was one of the best of its day; Beethoven kept Cherubini's score on his desk and copied out passages from it while composing FIDELIO.”
“Fritz Wunderlich was discovered for the opera stage at a student production of ZAUBERFLÖTE. At the age of 25 he was engaged at the Württemberg Staatstheater in Stuttgart, one of the most renowned opera houses in Germany at the time. Erich Schäfer was its General Manager, Ferdinand Leitner its conductor, and Wieland Wagner and Günther Rennert created very interesting productions. Wunderlich never broke off relations with Stuttgart completely, not even when he was engaged by the Munich Opera in 1958. Here he was influenced by Rudolf Hartmann, Günther Rennert and Josef Keilberth. In 1959 he made his début at the Salzburg Festival (Henry Morosus in Strauss’ DIE SCHWEIGSAME FRAU). He soon became the leading lyrical tenor and he was particularly admired in the Mozart repertoire. He also sang Alfredo, Lenski, Palestrina, and the Steersman in DER FLIEGENDE HÖLLANDER. He loved to sing Egk, Liebermann and Orff and was an eminent operetta singer. He sang operettas on stage only at the outset of his career in Freiburg and Stuttgart. He regularly appeared in oratorios and has been unsurpassed as Evangelist. With his fatherly friend Hubert Giesen he worked on Lieder and he soon was very much in demand as a recitalist. His career was one of the most successful after World War II. He died tragically of an accident, a few days before his 36th birthday. It is pointless to speculate what direction he would have taken if he had been granted a longer career. With the natural power of his voice he would have been able to move into heroic regions.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile
“Fritz Wunderlich spent five years in Stuttgart before he became a world figure.....The voice is young and fresh. There has hardly ever been a more beautiful tenor voice, and his career lasted only ten years because he died young.”
- Donald R. Vroon, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July/Aug., 2004