Internationally acclaimed Sony Classical recording artist and Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis, who recently performed at the Leadership 100 21st Annual Conference, spoke to Greek Reporter about his international career, his new album and how an artist can stick to classical music in the pop era. Watch the interview below:
Frangoulis, often referred to as one of Greece’s “national treasures”, is a dedicated Hellene who thinks of himself as an ambassador for Greece all over the world. He sings in Italian, Spanish, English, French and Greek, enabling him to truly connect with global audiences. He has had the honor of performing with some of the world’s greatest artists, including Placido Domingo, Lara Fabian, Sarah Brightman, Justin Hayward, and Natalie Merchant, in addition to collaborating with Greece’s most famous composers, Mikis Theodorakis and Yannis Markopoulos, and world-acclaimed singers George Dalaras, Alkistis Protopsalti, and Glykeria, to name a few.
Fragoulis was Born in what is now the Republic of Zimbabwe to Greek parents. He was raised in Athens, Greece. At the age of 17, he attended London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study acting and singing. While at Guildhall he was discovered by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who is referred to by The New York Times as “the most successful, influential and powerful producer of our time.” Upon his graduation, he was hired to play the character Marius in Les Miserables in London’s West End. Soon thereafter, he was invited by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to play the role of Raoul in Phantom of the Opera to great critical acclaim.
During this time, Frangoulis discovered the operatic side of his voice. He won the Maria Callas Prize and, juggling this new-found opportunity in opera with an emerging stage career, he studied in Italy with the world-famous tenor Carlo Bergonzi, and, upon the recommendation of one of his mentors, the legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, with the acclaimed Spanish tenor Alfredo Kraus, becoming the only private student the late Kraus ever accepted. He continued his studies at the Julliard School of Music in New York under the guidance of Dodi Protero, solidifying his skill as a vocalist and musician.
Anything but a conventional opera singer, he won the role of Tony in West Side Story at Milan’s La Scala for the New Millennium and appeared in films such as De Lovely with Kevin Kline, on television, and even in epic presentations of ancient Greek plays such as The Birds, Prometheus, and The Bacchae.
A true humanitarian, Frangoulis is recognized all over the world for his charity work, supporting events and organizations such as: Voices for Darfur, José Carreras’ Leukemia Foundation, and organizations addressing AIDS issues, and homelessness prevention and intervention. He is most passionate, however, about any cause pertaining to the protection of “at risk” children. In 2008, he was invited by Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams to be a Global Ambassador for Peace for her organization, The World Centers of Compassion for Children International, and as a result, was invited by the Dalai Lama to sing at his 2009 Peace Summit in Vancouver, Canada. Simultaneously, he became an Ambassador for the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans in support of their goal to provide college scholarships for high-risk, high-potential youth throughout the United States.