Les deux journées by Luigi Cherubini


'''''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 on 16 January 1800 at the Théâtre Feydeau in Paris.

''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''. Richard Wagner considered it "one of the standard works in any well-organised repertory", and he particularly praised the overture and the orchestral preludes to acts 2 and 3.