Interview with Mario Frangoulis: World-renowned tenor
By: Markos Papadatos
World-renowned tenor Mario Frangoulis chatted with Markos Papadatos about his upcoming concerts at New York’s Lincoln Center on March 21 and 22. He will be joined by British songstress Alexandra Burke.
He praised Lincoln Center for being one of his favorite theaters. “I love the history of Lincoln Center. They have welcomed me to perform as a classical crossover artist and every time it’s a challenge. We played two years ago at the Allen Room which was a great success and this time we will be going to the Rose Theater. This show will support ‘Apostoli,’ which translates into ‘mission’ and it helps the Greek families that are affected by the recent economic development of Greece, especially the children who do not have the funds to survive their basic needs. ‘Apostoli’ is very much connected with the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens. We are supporting Greece from afar,” he said.
Frangoulis is best-known for his dynamic and charismatic live performances, where he is able to sing in six languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Greek; moreover, he juxtaposes multiple musical genres such as opera, pop, rock, folk, soul, blues and world music.
Throughout his career, he has also appeared in films, television and in epic presentations of Greek tragedies. In his native Greece, Mario has received critical acclaim for his acting performances.
He attended London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study acting and singing. While at Guildhall, he was discovered by the iconic Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who is referred to by the New York Times as “the most successful, influential and powerful producer of our time.” Mackintosh immediately hired Frangoulis upon his graduation to play the character of Marius in Les Miserables in London’s West End. Frangoulis was subsequently invited by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to play the role of Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera to a critically acclaimed performance. “Sir Cameron Mackintosh gave me that great chance from going straight out of drama school to playing a lead role in the West End. I felt very proud and very happy that somebody as powerful as Cameron Mackintosh would give me such a great opportunity. He made me work this much harder and made me feel responsible for what I was doing for the rest of my life. I owe him the beginning of my theater career. We are still friends after all these years which says a lot about his character,” he said.
Similar to how influential Sir Cameron has been on Frangoulis’ career, he hopes to someday be a role model to children as well. “Hopefully like Sir Cameron gave me a chance, I hope to help a lot of young people and give them a chance through my work,” he said.
In 1998, Frangoulis began recording for Sony Classical. Between 1999 and 2011, he completed 15 international recordings, both live and in-studio, with his first major classical crossover debut in 2002.
Frangoulis was born in Rhodesia, Africa, and raised in Greece. “My love for Greek theater is so well imprinted in my heart that I carry Greece everywhere I go in every song,” he said. “To be associated with a great culture and traditions and the way they see themselves in the worst socioeconomic conditions, Greeks are always very positive and supportive of each other. People who want to represent Greece in the best possible way outside of Greece will always remember these great philosophers and poets of the past.”
Regarding his plans for the future, he shared that he has an “Essential” album coming out soon which will be out in the United States and in Canada. “The songs will be from the classical crossover world, musical theatre, and from opera. We are aiming for the best of the best,” he said.
For hopefuls who wish to go into music, Frangoulis underscored the importance of hard work. “They mustn’t take it for granted and must expand their talent. They should continue to work on their craft whatever that may be, whether it is acting or singing. In singing, you need to keep your voice fresh and keep it away from danger. You also have to work very hard. That’s something I have learned since I was very young. All the hard work that you put into your singing is that helps the longevity of your art,” he said.
Frangoulis concluded by thanking his fans for all of their support through this “crazy journey of music and life.” “I wouldn’t be here without them and I cannot thank them enough for their support and their advice,” he said. “I always take their advice and I hear them since they are your true audience. They are the people that mold you over the years. I love them like my own family.”
For more information on international singing sensation Mario Frangoulis and his upcoming tour dates, visit his official website www.mariofrangoulis.com.
Photo Credit: Alessandro Dobici