Jorge Chaminé by Jean-Jacques Lafaye
In the galaxy of the stars of the lyric world, his name shines relentlessly, almost discreetly, differently from the others. As if he fled from the light his voice is inhabited with.
The power and expressiveness of his timbre, the « most refined baritone of our time », the physical presence and human attitude, a natural nobility that he conveys, with the same demanding zeal, either in the oratorio, poem with orchestra , the lied, the songs of exile and tangos, the bolero or the gypsy song. He is free; he embraces the melodies and the partitions that make sense whenever he seizes them, as a creative interpreter. Is there any other instrument more naked, more vulnerable than the human voice? He uses it as if his wish were to change our hearts; he serves it as a believer, for he was born to sing.
A descendant of high Iberian lineage, this universal Parisian is more than a lyrical polyglot, a high-culture spirit, a pedagogue by choice, a founder of prestigious festivals, and a peace communicator, always available when a cause appeals to him: abandoned or sick children, badly welcome refugees, young people caught up in the war, all those harmony has excluded. For him, being a musician is more than a job, more than a gift, more than a vocation: indeed, it is the chance to serve the Good in the company of eternal creators.
There is no science more human than Music, capable of healing even bodies. It is unwittingly that he has accumulated the recognitions, the distinctions of « Musical Personality of the Year », Musician for Peace, presidencies of the great composers’ memory and a high mission for Music in Middle East.
And in Bougival, at the gates of Paris, within the love of Pauline Garcia-Viardot and Georges Bizet, he crowned his commitment as an artist and a man by creating a very futuristic European Music Centre, so that the flame of the past may illuminate the musical life of tomorrow. As if generosity were the condition of his accomplishment, the secret of his voice.
Pablo Casals knew him as a child; Hans Hotter was his master of singing, Yehudi Menuhin his master of soul whose bond never failed him. On the shoulders of these giants he advances, he continues them, he makes them great. His partners, in the course of an intense career on stage and in concert are precisely Plácido Domingo, Mirella Freni, and Teresa Berganza. The great conductors: Ozawa who made him debut at Carnegie Hall, but also Giuseppe Sinopoli, Yehudi Menuhin, Claudio Scimone, Frühbeck Burgos, Michel Corboz, and Leonard Bernstein too late, who wanted him to sing again and again the unique Gustav Mahler. In the realm of music, Jorge Chaminé has only friends.
"To me, Jorge is a spiritual son, a brother, an advisor and a very good friend."
- Teresa Berganza
"At the dawn of the decade of his full maturity, always kind to low voices, when no artifice can hinder Art, let us greet in Jorge Chaminé the man and the artist, one of the Greats, yet Close."
- Jean-Jacques Lafaye
His name sounds gentle or like an injunction. […] The respect he inspires, I can attest, is rare and every moment spent with his voice, unforgettable. His fleeting imprint is never transient, for what he touches with his singing takes on a colour, opens a horizon, reconciles and reveals. Brahms, Beethoven, Fauré, and Mozart, and Bach, secretly: one should not seek to follow him as many specialized interpreters do; you just take the chance to listening to him.
For the voice, surely more than a palpable instrument, testifies for the responsibility, the strength of the consciousness and the subtle rendering. He knows how to cross the mysteries of the human condition, on all the continents of the repertoire. His multiple gifts, far from being a hindrance, free his interpreter intuitions. He is a spiritual Humanist, chosen by music to fulfil his destiny in the blossoming of sharing.
At the dawn of the decade of his full maturity, always kind to low voices, when no artifice can hinder Art, let us greet in Jorge Chaminé the man and the artist, one of the Greats, yet Close.
© Jean-Jacques Lafaye, 2017