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Gilles Cachemaille (Bass-Baritone)

Born: 1951 - Switzerland

The Swiss-French bass-baritone, Gilles Cachemaille, has, over the years, developed into one of the few top interpreters of French music. After starting his career at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1982 he was chosen by the late Herbert von Karajan to appear in Carmen with the Berlin Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival. Ever since he has been performing with the leading opera houses, orchestras and Festivals in Europe and USA under the most prestigious conductors and stage directors of the present time. The artist's voice has been widely recorded with more than 30 discs to his credit.

Besides the French repertoire with highlights such as Méphistophélès / La Damnation De Faust and Golaud / Pelleas Et Melisande, Gilles Cachemaille devotes a large part of his time to roles of Mozart operas such as the title part & Leporello / Don Giovanni, Figaro / Nozze Di Figaro as well as Guglielmo & Don Alfonso / Cosi fan Tutte. As an impressive stage personality, the artist also created a highly acclaimed portrayal of Nick Shadow in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, Sulpice in Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment and Musiklehrer in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos.

Another important part of Gilles Cachemaille's artistic activity are oratorios, masses and concert works like the Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, Elias, L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Dvorak's Biblical Songs, Frank Martin's Jedermann Monologe and Golgotha, Berlioz' L'enfance Du Christ, Robert Schumann's Faust-Szenen, Felix Mendelssohn's Walpurgisnacht as well as J.S. Bach's Matthäus (BWV 244) & Johannes-Passion (BWV 245). When John Eliot Gardiner presented Berlioz' rediscovered Messe Solennelle to the public of this century, Gilles Cachemaille was invited to sing the bass part, both on the European concert tour as well as on the first ever gramophone and video recording.

For the 50th anniversary of the Aix-en-Provence Festival (1998), Peter Brook and Claudio Abbado have chosen Gilles Cachemaille to sing Leporello in the opening production of Don Giovanni as well as on tour in Stockholm, Lyon and Milan. In January/February 1999 the artist continued to sing Leporello, this time in another production of Don Giovanni at the Grand Théâtre de Genève under the baton of Armin Jordan. Following an invitation of the Festival of Perth, Gilles Cachemaille performed mélodies by Francis Poulenc in Australia, together with the pianist Pascal Rogé and the Quintette Moragues in February 1999. At the Vienna Festival 1999, the artist has been praised as Mephisto & Böser Geist in Robert Schumann's Faust-Szenen under the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and, in June 1999, was acclaimed for his portrayal of Elijah in Marseilles. In summer 1999, Gilles Cachemaille returned to the Festival of Aix-en-Provence as Leporello in Peter Brook's Don Giovanni production. Further appearances also include Albert / Werther, both at the Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam and at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Leporello / Don Giovanni at the Toronto Opera, Méphistophélès / La Damnation de Faust in Antwerp, Figaro / Nozze Di Figaro at the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu at the Lucerne Festival 2000, "Golaud" in concert performances of Pelleas et Melisande with the Cleveland Orchestra under Pierre Boulez, Père Laurent / Romeo et Juliette (Berlioz) with the NHK Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit in Tokyo, Don Alfonso / Cosi fan Tutte in Lyon, Eumée / Penelope (concert version) with the Orchestre National de France in Paris, Leporello / Don Giovanni in Munich, Nardo / La Finta Giardiniera at the Montreux Festival, Elijah in Berne, Joseph / L'enfance du Christ with the NHK Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit in Tokyo, Père Laurent / Romeo et Juliette with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin under Kent Nagano, Creon & Messenger / Oedipus Rex with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Mark Elder, Musiklehrer / Ariadne auf Naxos in Dresden, concerts with Ravel's L'heure Espagnole (Ramiro) and Frank Martin's In Terra Pax in Utrecht, Lescaut / Manon in a new production at the Teatro San Carlo, Napoli, Leporello / Don Giovanni at the 2002 Aix-en-Provence Festival as well as (in concert) at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Frank Martin's Golgotha under Marcello Viotti in Munich as well as Joseph in a TV production of the BBC Cardiff of L'enfance du Christ with the National Orchestra of Wales under Richard Hickox.

Recently, the artist also performed Hérode / L'enfance du Christ with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, Père Laurent / Romeo et Juliette with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, Gabriel Fauré's Requiem with the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester-Berlin under Marek Janowski, the title part in George Frideric Handel's Saul at the Ruhr-Triennale 2003, Père Laurent / Romeo et Juliette with the Orchestra dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia under Myung-Whun Chung in Rome, Joseph in L'enfance du Christ with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under John Eliot Gardiner at the BBC Proms Concerts in London, with the Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra under Marc Soustrot in Utrecht and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in Boston as well as Frank Martin's Jedermann Monologe in Geneva with the L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Yuri Simonov. At the Dresden State Opera, the artist appeared as Mamm'Agata in a new production of Donizetti's Le Convenienze Ed Inconvenienze Teatrali.

Future engagements include: Frank Martin's Le Mystere de la Nativite in Utrecht, Christ / Golgotha under Marcello Viotti at the Vienna Musikverein, recitals in Belfast, Lausanne, Fribourg, etc.

Source: Balmer & Dixon Wensite (2004-2005); Ruud Janssen (February 2006)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2005)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Joachim Krause


BWV 245

Links to other Sites

Gilles Cachemaille - Biography (Balmer & Dixon)


Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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