The day that Alejandro Jato (Vigo, 28 years old) auditioned for the role of Camilo Sesto for the singer's biographical series that AtresPlayer Premium is preparing about the Valencian singer, he had no song prepared.
At the end of his text, they asked him to sing something and he sang
Contra el aire
The casting team, perhaps tired of listening to candidates tearing themselves apart for
Living like this is dying of love, Something about me
or, in the case of the most daring,
, was surprised by one of Sesto's lesser-known songs.
But Alejandro Jato was not like the others.
He knows that there are many expectations for
whose filming will begin in January, not only because of the size of the character but also because almost all the Spanish actors of his generation did that casting.
Since they chose him, Jato spends his days between costume fittings, wigs and false beards in the morning, singing and physical expression classes in the afternoon and immersing himself in the life, work and (above all) miracles of Camilo Sesto for the nights.
Sometimes until dawn.
“The series covers from 1972 to 1976, since he saw
Jesus Christ Superstar
in London until it premiered in Madrid.
The idea is to tell who he was at that specific moment.
There is a danger of going to what is recognizable about him, more histrionic and more diva, more towards the eighties, but that period marked an after in his personality much earlier.
The idea is to understand who he was, the things he did and why he did them."
And that is what has always moved Alejandro Jato: understanding people.
Alejandro Jato, last week in a Madrid hotel.Jacobo Medrano
As a child, Alejandro watched
The Mask of Zorro
(1998) so often that his mother clarified that this was not El Zorro, but an actor named Antonio Banderas.
A Spanish actor who was paid to live adventures in Hollywood?
From the living room of his house the plan seemed easy.
Every birthday his mother, who had dreamed of being an actress when she was young, gave him tickets to the theater.
His vocation came to him on October 7, 2008 at the Caixanova Cultural Center, at the age of 16, while he was watching
the Tamzin Townsend
Or, rather, while he finished.
"Unfortunately, in Vigo there is very little theater now, but at that time a lot of things came from Madrid," he recalls.
“I remember at the end of the play, with all those people applauding.
I thought, 'God, I want to do this.'
As a result of that, I enrolled in a drama school.”
In 2012 she moved to Madrid at the age of 18 and alternated her studies at the Corazza acting school with a degree in Business Administration and Management.
Just in case.
At the moment he has not needed to exercise.
He has learned his trade in a handful of plays (several directed by Miguel del Arco:
Ilusiones, Ricardo III
Stage 0 ,
Trial of a Fox)
and in 420 episodes of the daily TVE series
Servir and protect
The how, the when, but not the why
Jato perfectly remembers the first time he heard Camilo Sesto, not so much because he was struck by his overwhelming vocal range, but also because the circumstances would have remained etched in anyone's memory: his group of school friends spent their breaks doing
, Jesus' heart-wrenching lament against his father (God, not Joseph) in Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical.
“In my school there was an area with some curtains and they used to sing there, playing with the curtains.
My gang at school listened to music that I didn't play for our age, I think because they listened to it with their grandmothers: Rocío Jurado, Lola Flores, Nino Bravo... It's just that we were a very strange group, because the coolest was the the
it was, the one with the most vinyls,” he explains.
During his teenage years, Alejandro discovered the Spanish light music of the seventies, sometimes on vinyl, sometimes on YouTube.
The Galician interpreter Alejandro Jato, in Madrid last week. Jacobo Medrano
Those first two thousand were the years of the resurrection.
Living like this is dying of love
by Camilo Sesto,
Como una ola
by Rocío Jurado or
My great night
by Raphael began to sound in
discos and modernity set out to vindicate folkloric figures.
But there was a lot to repair.
The eighties fled from everything that smacked of late Francoism and the nineties turned the folkloric into puppets.
Camilo Sesto was one of the worst unemployed.
Alejandro went to school with a CD of Camilo's Greatest Hits on the
but when he came home he turned on the TV and saw it turned into a caricature.
“I do remember the stage of
(2002), I talked about it with friends of mine, who seemed to be very lost, I was very sorry that great Spanish song artists ended up like this.
It makes me angry.
Now talking about the series with a friend, I realize that the image that many people have of him does not correspond to the myth that he is, with how great this person was.
The Atresplayer Premium series will tell, precisely, the four years in which Camilo Sesto was the greatest of all.
A period, moreover, key in Spanish history.
In the early 1970s, Sesto was a star melodic singer and composer in Spain, a kind of sentimental response to Julio Iglesias, thanks to hits like
Algo de mí, Fresa salvaje
In 1972 he traveled to London and saw
Jesus Christ Superstar
(standing, because all the seats were taken, but it's not like he wanted to sit down either), a play that turned the Son of God into a
sixties anti-establishment, famous as a rock star and human as the neighbor next door.
That experience transformed him and he repeated it on several occasions, increasingly convinced that he was the one chosen to bring that then controversial show to Spain.
The singer Camilo Sesto in his chalet in Madrid in 2002. Cristóbal Manuel
Censorship watched him closely.
His representative tried to get the idea out of his head: why was the Spanish singer who sold the most records at that time going to risk his career?
Sesto invested all his savings, some 12 million pesetas at the time (the singer declared in EL PAÍS, months before he died, that he calculated that the budget was triple that official figure), because no producer wanted to gamble with a work so controversial in a country as catholic as Spain.
The theaters that showed the film version in 1973 had suffered attacks, boycotts and demonstrations.
The arrival of
Jesus Christ Superstar
on November 6, 1975 paralyzed the country.
Or, at least, the Gran Vía.
“There were people trying to prevent the attendees from entering, others began to pray for the souls of the spectators.
But it is that on top of that, 15 days after the premiere, Franco died.
The atmosphere in the country was altered because it was not known what was going to happen.
All of that appears in the series,” says Alejandro Jato.
The saboteurs, for whom the Second Vatican Council did not go with them, the work, which also humanized Judas Iscariot, who stopped being a traitor to a disciple of Christ who reasoned that the popularity of his leader damaged his message.
A critic from
he came to miss silent movies because that way he would not have to listen to the “humiliating destitution” of this rock opera.
The ultra-Catholic organization Guerrilleros de Cristo mobilized hundreds of people to protest against that sacrilegious spectacle while Sesto, undeterred, declared on
: “Putting on their little show won't do them any good.
The work will go ahead, I'm not scared by those of the guerrillas”.
After three minutes of performance, as soon as the first musical number (the Judas Iscariot monologue, no less) finished, the audience stood up.
At the end, the chronicles of the time spoke of a six-minute ovation.
That night Camilo Sesto ascended to heaven from a type of fame reserved for a few: he was 29 years old, but the certainty that his obituaries would headline with that event.
The musical ran for four months.
Andrew Lloyd Webber assured that the Spanish assembly was the only one in the world to match the American one.
It had such an impact that, at the end of its tour, the Gillette company paid Camilo Sesto eight million pesetas to shave his beard with a brand blade for an advertising campaign.
For Jato, the Camilo Sesto that Jesus Christ Superstar
in London it had nothing to do with the one he starred in at the Alcalá Palace Theater in Madrid three years later.
“He felt a call and I think it was also partly a revolution.
There were people who did protest songs, but he was told that he was more of a balladeer, as if he were something more harmless.
The dictatorship was ending, the country was screaming and needed freedom, punk and glam rock were beginning.
And suddenly he felt that his way of living his own revolution was that.
He felt that he had to be there and be Jesus Christ ”, analyzes the singer.
During the rehearsals of the play, the cast felt so intimidated by Sesto when he appeared dressed as the Messiah that he, almost possessed by the character, repeated to them: "Don't be afraid, come close to me, you can touch me."
Camilo Sesto, at the end of the seventies, when he represented the rock opera 'Jesus Christ Superstar'.
tells what the process of transforming a humble-class kid from Alcoy into a musical prodigy first and, through a religious experience, into a mass idol later, consists of.
The series also addresses personal aspects of the singer, one of the best-known figures in Spain but about which less is known.
He obstinately protected his love life when the norm among artists was the opposite, he hid the drinking problems that would lead him to undergo a liver transplant in the early two thousandths and he maintained an almost obsessive relationship with his parents. of the.
He wrote to his mother
and to his father
From him The love of my life
Alejandro Jato still can't reveal too much about the series, but he warns that yes, all of that is in
"He did not stop living while he raised
Jesus Christ Superstar,
his personal life was also transformed by that milestone," Jato clarifies.
arrives in an unbeatable context.
Sesto's songs sound more than ever in discos, karaokes and
Rappers like Jay Z or Rick Ross have used his melodies for his songs and rapper Cardi B paid tribute to him after her death in 2019 by singing several of her classics on her Instagram.
A month ago a new album with ten unpublished songs was unearthed,
, and the artist seems more popular now than in the previous four decades.
Even so, Sesto remains a huge mystery.
"This is how I want it to be," he declared himself.
“The stage, a back door with the car running and when the public is still asking for another, I am already at the hotel.
If I want there to be someone there, I have already notified myself”.
In 1983 she had a son with one of his fans and withdrew to take care of him, which only made him more inaccessible and lonely.
The interpreter Alejandro Jato, a month after the start of filming for 'Camilo' in Madrid.Jacobo Medrano
“He was quite a reserved person and more discreet than what I had learned from him,” says Jato.
“He was a force of nature on stage, but once he got off he was demure, very reserved.
He put everything into the performances.
He had an immense need to love and be loved, but he said that he never fell in love and that the love of his life was music.
Maybe it's that human relationships fell short, I don't know.
He, of course, was related a lot from seduction since he was little, since he was a child.
He had a very special relationship with his mother and his sister and I begin to sense that his relationship with women has a lot to do with the relationship he had with the women in his family.
He had a very maternal thing that somehow reached a lot to the female audience ”.
is directed by
(Treason, High Seas, Lies)
and has a script by Tatiana Rodríguez (nominated for a Goya for
and creator of
La cocinera de Castamar
in 2021) and, although it has not yet been decided if Alejandro will interpret the songs or will playback, he is preparing himself just in case.
“I'm enjoying the whole process,” he says.
“Surely I won't get many more opportunities like this and I want to be aware of each step.
I want to have a good time.
Like when I was little I played El Zorro”.
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