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Mario Frangoulis was born in Rhodesia but grew up in Athens, where his musical talent was evident early on. At the age of 11 he recorded the part of Isaaca in A.L.Webber’s “Joseph and his amazing technicolour raincoat” and was a soloist in O. Elytis’ “Axion Esti” with music by Theodorakis, and took part in several school theatrical performances: at age 15 he was the M.C. in “Cabaret” and at age 16 he was Tony in “West Side Story”. Meanwhile, for eleven years he studied the violin at the Athens Conservatorium where he graduated in 1984.
In 1985 he moved to London, where he did a three-year professional acting course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he gave a show-stopping performance as Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Just before graduation, he won the coveted Maria Callas Scholarship for Opera and then performed the part of Marius in the West End production of “Les Miserables” at the Palace Theatre, where he performed for a year with great success. At the end of 1989 he went to Italy where he studied opera with tenor Carlo Bergonzi in the Verdi Academy. From 1990, Mario became Alfredo Kraus’ first private pupil and travelled with him around the world studying with him vocal technique and repertory.
In 1991 he was invited by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to star as Raoul in “The Phantom of the Opera”, at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End, directed by Harold Prince.
He pursued opera at the same time, appearing, in May of the same year, alongside Montserrat Caballé and Samuel Ramey with the orchestra and chorus of the National Youth Orchestra at Whilehall, celebrating the late Princess Diana’s birthday, in memory of Dame Margot Fonteyn and to benefit the Royal Ballet.
In 1992, Mario was granted the “Onassis Scholarship”, which enabled him to continue his operatic studies in New York with soprano Dodi Protero, in a three-year course at the Juilliard School of Music.
From then on, his career took flight, a career based on his exceptional ability to interpret a very wide range of musical repertoire, redefining the boundaries and the rules of interpretation:
1993: He took part to a gala concert hosted by Sir Peter Ustinov alongside stars such as Montserrat Caballé, Dmitri Hvorostowki, Julia Migenes-Johnson, Dennis O’ Neil, Rita Hunter and Alfredo Kraus, with the orchestra and chorus of the London Royal Opera House conducted by Robin Stapleton. His Greek debut was at the Athens Music Concert hall in an opera gala dedicated to the memory of Maria Callas.
1994: He was a distinguished finalist of the Luciano Pavarotti International Competition in Philadelphia, U.S.A.- the first Greek to reach such an honour – one of 34 winners out of 4.000 participants from all over the world.
1995: On his return to London, Mario was invited to play the young lead Lun-Tha in the Rogers & Hammerstein musical “The King and I”, for a few performances during the Covent Garden Festival, and won critical acclaim from the “Times”, the “Guardian” “Daily Telegraph & Daily Mail” He also played the lead role in Yusupov in Oxford and Johnny in Sail Away (Savoy Theatre) and sung the part of Jonathan in a recording of Bernard J Taylor’s new musical “Nosferatu”.
1996: In the summer of this year he made his debut at the Herod Atticus ancient amphitheater, under the Athens Acropolis, in an evening dedicated to the memory of Leonard Bernstein. He returned to this ancient theatre in September, singing the title role in the oratorio “Orpheus liturgy” by Greek Yannis Markopoulos.
In the meantime, he was repeating his successful portrayal of Marius in “Les Miserables” at the Palace Theatre, in London’s West End and recorded the part of Lun-Tha in a concert version of The King and I with the BCC Symphony Orchestra with Barbara Cook.
1997: Greek theatrical debut, playing the lead, Billy Kracker, in K. Weil’s “Happy End”, with the Carolos Koun Art’s Theatre, the Lead Bird in Aristophane’s comedy “The Birds”, performed in almost every major ancient amphitheatre of Greece, such as Epidaurus, Sparta, Filippoi and many more. At the Herod Atticus Theatre, he took part in an opera gala titled “Mythic moments from the world of opera”, alongside famous Greek lyrical artists. During the Delphic Celebrations he took part in the drama “Daidalus in Crete” by A. Sikelianos and in September he was at the Herod Atticus Theatre again singing the Cantata n. 1 by George Tsangaris.
1997-1998: Danny Zouko in the musical “Grease”, by J. Jacobs & W. Casey, directed by David Gilmore, at the Vembo theatre. In the same season, he appeared in late night shows in the prestigious music hall “Iera Odos”, singing duets with George Dalaras: the production toured Greece and Europe and was turned into a best-selling CD which soon went platinum.
In the May 1998, he starred at the Herod Atticus performance of Mikis Theodorakis’ “Axion Esti”, a musical rendition of the historic poem of the same name by Nobel prize winner Odysseas Elitis. In September, in the U.S.A., he signed an exclusive contract with Sony Classical for 5 CDs in different musical genres, from classical to pop.
1999: In March, first solo show, again in “Iera Odos” music hall, with songs from all over the world, He was an overnight sensation, and these appearances were followed by a hugely successful concert tour in Greece and Cyprus the following summer, playing to audiences of 2.000-10.000 people. In June he again interprets Markopoulos’ “Orpheus Liturgy” (Herod Atticus Theatre, and Patras Festival) His first solo album, “Fengari erotevmeno” (“Love-struck moon”), a live recording of the show, a double CD by Sony, Greece (with kind permission of Sony Classical), was an immediate best-seller, thus winning him his second platinum album. At the end of the summer, he inaugurates the Mesogaia Festival, at the “Kekropia” Theatre, with a solo recital with works from Scarlatti to Donizetti and Tosti.
December 31st, New Year’s Eve, he takes part at the Millennium Celebrations under the Acropolis, singing together with Maria Farandouri a song by Mikis Theodorakis.
2000: In the summer, again a tour all over Greece; in July he was Tony in “West Side Story” at the prestigious La Scala Opera House in Milan. In August he sang the title role in Yannis Markopoulos “Erotokritos”, at the Herod Atticus Theatre. At the end of the same month he returned to the same venue for his first solo recital there, with the participation of Deborah Mayers, with a repertoire of Greek and foreign songs: a show that also went on tour and was also turned into a best-selling CD titled “Little stories: Mario Frangoulis live at Herodeion”.
2001: Charity Opera Gala at the Athens Concert Hall, alongside stars of the Greek National Opera.
In May, he was principal guest in an evening called Viva Verdi!, at the New Opera of Moscow, under conductor Yevgeni Kolobov, with Verdi arias - a concert repeated the following month in Cyprus. In June at Herod Atticus Theatre with Markopoulos, in October, 2001, at the Herodeion again, in a concert called “Bravo China”, with Nana Mouschouri, Liu Huan and Huang Ying. Some days later, at the Veakeion Theatre, in Piraeus, he sang for the benefit of handicapped children.
2002: Concert at the Athens Concert Hall with film songs. During the summer, concert tour again, and a triumphal appearance at the Lycabettus Theatre, in Athens, for the launching of his upcoming new record, “Sometimes I dream”, drawing immense crowds, as always. It was his first international album with Sony International, with a repertoire of songs by Mediterranean composers, and was released in the fall of 2002 After a trip to the U.S.A. for the presentation of the CD, back to Athens, on October 5th, for a concert at the Herod Atticus Theatre and another at the “Theatre of the Earth” in Thessaloniki. The CD remained on the Billboard Classical Crossover Chart for more than ninety consecutive weeks.
2003: Debut appearance at the Greek National Opera, singing opera arias and duets as well as songs and duets from musicals with soprano Elena Kelesidou, in a charity evening for Action Aid. New CD single with Greek songs, Enas hartinos ilios (A paper sun), Appearances in Elsinki and Stockholm, at the Ulrikstaal festival, and all over the world, to present Sometimes I dream all over the world, with a peak in Mexico. With the Moscow New Opera soloists, chorus and orchestra, he sang arias and duets in a concert with sets and costumes, called «Tribute to Maria Callas» touring Russia and Cyprus. In October, at the Herod Atticus Theatre, concert with arie antiche and classical songs with soprano Inva Mula and the Opera Babes. On New Year’s Eve, open-air performance in Syntagma Square, broadcast live by satellite, with Alkistis Protopsaltis and the Gypsy Kings.
2004: Evening in honor of Danai, a Greek singer of the ‘30s, with songs by Attic and Hairopoulos. In May, at the Herod Atticus Theatre songs by Mikis Theodorakis, and “Axion esti”, with Mario in the role of the Popular Singer. At the Cannes International Film Festival, for the world premiere of the musical film De Lovely, based on the life of Cole Porter, and starring Kevin Klein where Mario played the part of Alfred Drake, a Broadway star of the ‘60s, and sang the duet “So in love” from Kiss me Cate, with Lara Fabian. After the screening, he took part to a concert, with some other of the singing cast of the film (Robbie Williams, Nathalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Alanis Morissette, Diana Crawl). In July he played the lead role of Achilles in the lost and reconstructed Aeschylus trilogy
Achilleis, with the Cyprus Theatre Organization, with prestigious co-stars such as Despina Bebedelli, Dim. Kafkaridis and Jenny Gaitanopoulou. The performance, after touring in Cyprus and provincial Greece, was presented in Epidaurus in August.
In occasion of the Athens Olympic Games, he took part in two concerts, in Verghina and in Pireus, as well as at the opening of the Paralympic Games, in September.
In August, Greek and U.K. release date of his second international disk with Sony International, Follow your heart, In October 1st, he sharing a concert at the Herod Atticus Theatre with soprano Barbara Hendrics, An Evening of Jazz, singing songs by Cole Porter and other jazz milestones. Some days later, he appeared in Japan for three concerts with the Tokyo State Philharmonic Orchestra. In November he was in the U.K. for eight appearances alongside young New Zealand soprano Heley Westenra and on the end of the year, he sang Cole Porter and excerpts of other musicals at the Royal Albert Hall participating to "Refugee Voices: A Concert for Darfur," Other participants included Alison Moyet, Antony Costa, Simply Red, Alanis Morisette.
2005: He alternated between Greece and the U.S. Starting with two concerts at the Thessaloniki Concert with the Town Symphony, directed by Richard Balcombe, alongside soprano Kelly Tousmanof and Andreas Smyrnakis. Immediately after, he started a long tour of 28 American cities, with pianist Jim Brickman and Ann Cochran. He sang in South Africa’s Sun City, with Vicky Sampson, to an audience of 5.000, while in May he is back in New York for his first personal U.S. concert, at the N.Y.City Center, with soprano Liza Vroman as a guest: a concert followed by another three in Baltimore and St.Louis. In the same period was released his first all-Greek CD, “The Garden of wishes”, with music by five new Greek composers and lyrics by P. Karasoulos. The summer found him touring all Greece and Cyprus to promote the CD, and in the beginning of October he gave two concerts at the Herod Atticus Theatre, titled “Music of the Night”, for the 50 years of the Greek Festival, with the chorus, orchestra and soloists of the New Opera of Moscow. He then participated in Placido Domingo’s concert in Cyprus, and appeared in Chicago.
2006: On January 6th, in Tampa, Florida, he sang in front of Patriarch Bartholomew, then he flew to Pafos (Cyprus) for the first yearly Aphrodite Festival, and in the summer he inaugurated his Tribute to Mario Lanza concert, in Limassol (Cyprus), with the Russian balalaika orchestra Ossipov. Another two concerts in Istanbul, in honour of Patriarch Bartholomew and then to Lebanon, for the 50 years of the Baalbeck Festival. A summer tour in the Dodecannese with a tribute to Federico Garcia Lorca, as well as other concerts in Thessaloniki and in the Herod Atticus Theatre. Again at the same theatre, in September, he presented the tribute to Mario Lanza, with the Ossipov Orchestra and the collaboration of American soprano Kallen Esperian.
At the end of the year, was released in Greece the DVD “Music of the night”, a recording of the concert at the Herod Atticus – which immediately takes the first place in the foreign charts. Immediately after, the CD “Dark love”, with songs by F.G. Lorca translated by S. Trivizas and put to music by D. Maramis.
2007: A series of concerts in all of Greece, but also in the U.S.A. He volunteered to the CD “Give US your poor" for U.S. homeless people, alongside famous American artists such as Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover, as well as for the concert in Boston’s Stand Theatre for the same cause. At the end of the year, the release of his new CD, “Passione”, a tribute to Mario Lanza’s Neapolitan and English repertoire, with the Ossipov Orchestra.
2008: His latest album, titled “Mario & Friends” entered Greek charts at #1 and achieved platinum sales! It was recorded during the Athens International Music Festival (April 2008) and includes some wonderful duets with Lucio Dalla, Lara Fabian, Justin Hayward, Madeleine Peyroux, Alessandro Safina, and Steve Balsamo among others.
2009: “Mario & Friends 2” album is released, following the huge critical and commercial success of the first volume. This album focuses on songs from the musicals and the movies. Guests including Lucio Dalla, Lara Fabian, Steve Balsamo, Deborah Myers, Georgia Fumanti, Jeff Leyton Frances Ruffelle and George Perris. The album went soon gold.
A second album followed in December, his collaboration with Manos Hatzidakis Ensemble for the album “Season Of Love”. This album brings to life a childhood dream of Marios, paying tribute to the famous Greek composer. Rave press reviews followed and a successful summer tour in Greek cities.
2010: The follow up album with Manos Hadjidakis songs, “Season Of Love 2” is released in June. A summer tour in Greece followed, ended with two sold-out concerts in Athens, at the Herodus Atticus theatre. At the same time Mario was working for his next international album.
2011: After years of preparations and working, the new international album “Beautiful Things” released in Greece. The album was recorded in the U.S.A., Greece, and the United Kingdom with some of the greatest musicians and orchestras in the world. Beautiful Things is a classical-crossover cd that follows the successful releases of Sometimes I Dream and Follow Your Heart. The album has very distinguished songwriters and composers from all over the world, such as: Stephan Moccio (Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Sarah Brightman), David Foster (songwriter and producer of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Michael Buble), Francesco Sartori (Andrea Bocelli) Steve Wood and others.
The guest roster on Beautiful Things is just as impressive: famous actress and singer, Vanessa Williams, the famous young tenor Vittorio Grigolo and the Greek diva, Alkistis Protopsalti all add different flavours to the album’s quality.