San Francisco, CA – Last month Mario Frangoulis accepted the 2013 “Elios Award of Excellence” at the annual Hellenic Charity Ball in San Francisco, hosted by the Elios Charitable Foundation.
Mario Frangoulis is a tenor of the 21st Century, with the ability to sing everything from a hard-rock anthem to an operatic aria. Mario attended London’s 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.” Mackintosh immediately hired Frangoulis upon his graduation to play the character of 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 The Phantom of the Opera to great critical acclaim.
It was during this time, while completing his studies at Guildhall, that Mario discovered the operatic side of his voice. He won the Maria Callas Prize, which he auditioned for simply on the urging of a friend who was studying opera. Juggling this newfound opportunity in opera with an emerging stage career was a challenge; nonetheless he found himself on a path to Italy to study with the world- famous Carlo Bergonzi. Upon the recommendation of one of his mentors, the legendary mezzo- soprano Marilyn Horne, Frangoulis went to Rome to audition for the acclaimed tenor Alfredo Kraus, who was performing with Nicola Rescigno (Maria Callas’ favorite conductor). Both were impressed. Mario became the only private student that the late Kraus ever accepted, and traveled all over the world, studying and learning while Kraus performed. This intensive daily training cultivated Frangoulis’ solid vocal technique and good high notes, both hallmarks of Kraus’ style. 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.
Despite his intensive training Frangoulis is anything but a conventional operatic singer. He won the role of Tony in West Side Story at Milan’s La Scala for the New Millenium. He has appeared in films, on television, and even in epic presentations of Greek tragedies. In his native Greece, Mario has been acclaimed by critics in roles ranging from high-school hero Danny Zuko in Grease to Aristophanes’ The Birds featuring the songs of Manos Hadjidakis (the Oscar-winning Greek composer of Never On Sunday) in the ancient amphitheater at Epidaurus. He played the role of Alfred Drake from Kiss Me Kate in the film De Lovely, performing the Cole Porter song So In Love with world-famous singer Lara Fabian in 2005.
In 1998 Frangoulis began recording for Sony Classical. Between 1999 and 2011 he completed fifteen international recordings (both live and in-studio) with his first major Classical Crossover debut in 2002 with Sometimes I Dream which held the #2 and #3 positions on Billboard’s Classical Crossover charts for 50 weeks (with Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban). His second international release, Follow Your Heart, in 2005, held the #3 and #10 spots for 43 weeks. Frangoulis is best known for his powerful and charismatic live performances. He sings in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Greek, and loves to blend multiple musical styles (opera, pop, rock, folk, soul/R&B, world).
As Mario says, “Ultimately, I believe that our lives and purpose should be about preserving what is good in this world — striving for peace and compassion -and doing this through music and an undying commitment to love… You have to show your personality, your character, and most of all your truth… 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.”