As I mentioned in the last of my official uploads in the series "Tornami dir che m'ami", I wanted to post some appendixes of other interesting duets from the Rossini oeuvre, just for fun :). Here they are :)!
14) "Incauta, che festi!" for Matilde and Leicester from "Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra".
"Elisabetta" was one of the milestones of Rossini's career. Not only was it one of the first operas under the direction of the famous impresario Barbaja, but it was also a work that united many of the singers who would form an unofficial "Rossini troupe": his future wife, Colbran; the primo tenor Nozzari; Chizzola and Manzi, who would create many of the secondary roles in Rossini's operas; and Garcia, who would create Almaviva in one of Rossini's masterpieces.
Getting back to the duet... It certainly isn't one of Rossini's most inspired creations. It basically features two contrasting sections: a musical conversation, as Leicester desperately tries to understand why Matilde, his wife, has appeared in the castle of Elizabeth, a woman who does not take kindly to being abandoned; and, finally, a quite "bouncy" moderato as the lovers lament their fate. Considering everything we have already heard, not a very inspired piece. And, yet... it really does prove the point that to make any kind of music come alive you need good singers :). Here we get a very young Jose Carreras (who seems to me one of the best interpreters of Rossini at this stage of his career) and the sweet-sounding Valerie Masterson. And boy, do they sing :)!