One look at operatic tenor Mario Frangoulis and it will be made perfectly clear to you why he has been referred to as the Sex and the Symphony of concert halls. However, there is so much more to Frangoulis than what meets the eye.
First and foremost is his divine voice that has brought him to international stardom. With all of this global fame, Frangoulis has also been a whole-hearted contributor to various charities around the world. Handsome, gifted, and compassionate, Frangoulis shares with me some of his passions and experiences. So if you haven’t fallen in love with him at first sight (like myself), learn more from my interview with him.
“I loved to lose myself in neighboring areas, climbing trees and spending a lot of time on the rooftops, where I could ‘see the world’ and sing about it,” describes Frangoulis of his childhood in Greece. Raised by his aunt and uncle since the age of four, Frangoulis was exposed to classical music and encouraged to pursue his talents as, “they were the ones who took me to music school at the age of six, which was when I started taking violin lessons.”
Frangoulis has come a long way since that little fiddler on the roof. His talent, education and training has skyrocketed him to performances and experiences a starving artist could only dream of. Fluent in five languages, Frangoulis has performed in Les Miserables in London’s West End, The Phantom of the Opera after an invitation by Sir Andrew Lloyd himself, and trained with acclaimed tenor Alfred Kraus. In recent years, Frangoulis has collaborated with Vanessa Williams, Lara Fabian, Vittorio Grigolo, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, and pianist Jim Brickman just to name a few.
“The real ‘calling’ happened when I was sixteen when I decided to be an actor and went to audition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London,” Frangoulis recalls. “Acting is my favorite as it allows me to be all the different things I want to be,” and explaining how he loves the challenges of the metamorphosis of the roles that he plays. “The stage acts like a ‘catharsis,’ the washing out of your soul,” elaborates Frangoulis.
“It is where you go to feel vulnerable and to expose yourself to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. You learn more about yourself being on stage than being at the psychologist.” Much like an actual opera performance, romanticized and dramatic, Frangoulis states, “the stage, the lights, the audience help you ‘transform’ and elevate to another level of understanding of life itself.”
Frangoulis speaks with so much affection; I ask what is it that inspires him in life? “Talent inspires me, when I see it in others; it makes me ‘grow’ myself and makes me feel stronger and even more ambitious to succeed.” The hardworking humanitarian says “it is a great mission in my life to help others in need especially when those groups of people are children,” discloses Frangoulis. “They have a special place in my heart.” Involved in numerous charities, “the ones closest to me are the WCCCI (World Centers of Compassion for Children International) who create Cities of Peace and gives a home to children, and also the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans who provide need based scholarships.”
God-given talent may be what Frangoulis was born with (and good looks, if I haven’t already mentioned that once or twice), but it is not the end all, be all for Frangoulis. “It’s a good feeling to know that you have touched people’s lives. It makes you feel like your work is worthwhile. I would like people to remember me for my art, my music, and most of all have something to say for me as a human being. In many ways, that’s more important than anything else.”
Frangoulis now resides partially between New York and Athens, Greece. His latest album, Beautiful Things, released last December by Sony International, “gives a great message of love and hope to everyone and a sense of understanding of the beauty that surrounds us,” describes Frangoulis. “We have to be able to recognize beauty no matter what the circumstances, whether we are going through difficult times or not.”
First stop on the tour schedule this year for Frangoulis and all of his “beautiful things,” will be Moscow, Russia. “It’s always a pleasure to perform in Russia because the level of artistry is very high and there are many Russian people I can call friends.” The admiration is mutual between Frangoulis and his Russian comrades explaining, “for two of my most important CDs, Music of the Night (with the Novaya Opera and chorus conducted by Maestro Samoilov) and Passione – A Tribute to Mario Lanza (with the legendary Balalaika Orchestra ‘Ossipov’ and the exceptional Maestro Ponkin), I chose to work with Russian orchestras because of their high level of musicianship and dedication to their music.”
No need to journey far for you all here in the U.S. as Frangoulis will soon be performing at several concert halls nationwide. Fall in love with Frangoulis and all the Beautiful Things he shares. See MarioFrangoulis.com for more.
“You have to express the hopes of your soul, and that’s what my music is about. That is the number one thing I do. It’s simply about what it means to be human.” –Mario Frangoulis
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