Duetto buffo di due gatti
The Duetto buffo di due gatti ("humorous duet for two cats") is a popular performance piece for two sopranos which is often performed as a concert encore. The "lyrics" consist entirely of the repeated word "miau" ("meow"). Sometimes it is also performed by a soprano and a tenor, or a soprano and a bass.
While the piece is typically attributed to Gioachino Rossini, it was not actually written by him, but is instead a compilation written in 1825 that draws principally on his 1816 opera, Otello. Hubert Hunt putatively claims that the compiler was Robert Lucas de Pearsall, who for this purpose adopted the pseudonym "G. Berthold".
In order of appearance, the piece consists of:
- the "Katte-Cavatine" by the Danish composer C.E.F. Weyse
- part of the duet for Otello and Iago in Act 2 of Otello
- part of the cabaletta to the aria "Ah, come mai non senti", sung by Rodrigo in the same act
Some albums including this piece are:
- A Tribute to Gerald Moore, EMI Classics: Victoria de los Ángeles (soprano), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano), released 2003 (expanded reissue of 1969 release), also known as "Le Duo des Chats"
- Sweet Power of Song, EMI Classics: Felicity Lott (soprano), Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), Graham Johnson (piano), released 1990
- Duets for Two Sopranos, BIS: Elisabeth Söderström (soprano) and Kerstin Meyer (mezzo-soprano), Jan Eyron (piano), released 1992
- Wir Schwestern Zwei, Wie Schönen, Nightingale: Edita Gruberova (soprano), Vesselina Kasarova (mezzo soprano), and Friedrich Haider (piano). Last track, also identified as "Katzen-Duett"
- Von ganzem Herzen, Catalyst: Montserrat Caballé, Montserrat Martí, released 1998
- A Most Unusual Song Recital, Seraphim: Christa Ludwig (mezzo-soprano), Walter Berry (bass-baritone) (bass-baritone), Gerald Moore, piano, released 1969
The Best of Rossini, EMI Classics, MESPLE/BERBIE/REISS, released 1992.
- "Duo miaulé" in L'enfant et les sortilèges
- Hubert Hunt, Robert Lucas Pearsall: the Compleat Gentleman and His Music, 1795-1856. Chesham Bois (1977); Chris Woodstra. All Music Guide to Classical Music, 2005, p. 1126.
- Richard Osborne: Rossini. London: Dent (1986), p. 179.
- Andrew Cooper, "Rossini's Cat Duet", message to OPERA-L, June 17, 2004.
- Duetto buffo di due gatti (Cat Duet), for 2 voices & piano (spurious), QR iv/1 at Allmusic
- Score at el-atril.com