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BWW Interviews: Tenor Mario Frangoulis - International Superstar to Perform in NYC

Related: Mario Frangoulis, Opera, Classical crossover, Placido Domingo, Marilyn Horne, Alfredo Kraus, Freddie Mercury, Queen, Tony Bennett, Adam Lambert, Josh Groban, Alexandra Burke

Would you ever consider doing a purely operatic CD or for that matter a purely rock/pop CD?

Yes, of course! I have already mapped out some potential projects. I was just discussing with my team the other day about great rock n' roll songs I love - I recently had the opportunity to sing with Klaus Meine from the Scorpions in Germany a great talent -- and we found such an amazing middle ground for our voices within the rock n' roll style... stay tuned!

I know you are a big fan of Freddie Mercury and Queen, did you hear that Queen has just announced they are coming on tour with Adam Lambert singing?

I actually had not! I am a huge fan of Freddie Mercury because for me he was one of the pioneers (in a sense) of Classical Crossover - whether he knew it or not! I wish Adam Lambert the best of luck - it's a great honor to tour with Queen.

Are there any current artists from the rock and pop world whom you are really excited about?

There are so many amazing writers and artistic talents out there - I am very happy that Alexandra Burke from the UK - an amazing young talent and great voice is joining me at Jazz at Lincoln on March 21st and 22nd... I always gravitate towards artists and voices - no matter what genre - who are true to themselves and their own 'gift'. Alexandra is one of those people, as is Adele for example and John Legend.

Your early releases "Sometimes I Dream" and "Follow Your Heart" reflected a perfectly blended cross over style - whereas "Passione" - your tribute to Mario Lanza, seemed a bit more straight forward Italianate Tenor style. Where do you feel your current release "Beautiful Things" fits in the spectrum?

'Beautiful Things is' even more classical crossover than 'Sometimes I Dream' and 'Follow Your Heart.' The reason that I recorded "Passione" is because I really believe that Mario Lanza was one of the first classical crossover artists ever. If you think about it, Lanza is the one who really brought opera into people's everyday lives - through concerts and films - and even though he was considered an opera singer, he still sang a broad repertoire. Again, it's all along a "continuum" from classical to crossover.

Will the audience at your upcoming shows be treated to a selection primarily in support of "Beautiful Things" or will they hear more of a career retrospective?

Both! Of course I am featuring the songs from Beautiful Things - and I am introducing some other songs that I think people will be surprised by as well as songs from my well-known repertoire from "Sometimes I Dream" and "Follow Your Heart" Don't forget, I have great guests with me too, which will add new and interesting elements to the program.

Tell us a little bit about the artists who are going to be performing with you on this tour.

In New York, we have the fantastic young Pop/R&B singer, Alexandra Burke who is known for her great interpretation of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah," and my great friend French-Greek singer George Perris; and in Chicago I am really happy to be joined by classically trained jazz singer Tammy McCann who I originally saw perform in New York and I thought we could have a lot of fun on stage together!

What does the future hold for you and can we expect to see and hear more of you on this side of the Atlantic?

Well, I have a lot of great projects running right now. We are releasing an "Essential" album of my "favorites" for the U.S., and I am in the process of recording a spiritual/holiday album with the fantastic producer Jorge Calandrelli. It is such an honor to work with him - he has worked with everyone from Domingo, Bocelli and Groban to Streisand and Tony Bennett. If anyone understands what "classical crossover" means, it's him! There is a lot more, of course, such as concerts in the U.S. and Canada and some very interesting collaborations. My new management team is very unique led by Kevin Liles and Alvaro Domingo - which we were so happy about because I feel that by having a team that understands both worlds: the commercial music world and the classical world we can really succeed at bringing this classical crossover genre to a whole new level. Exciting times!

BWW CLASSICAL would like to thank Mario Frangoulis for taking time out of his busy schedule to sit and talk with us about his upcoming projects and his concerts this week at Jazz at Lincoln Center. If you are fan of classical-crossover, and you are not yet familiar with Frangoulis, run (don't walk) to one of his upcoming U.S shows. You will be glad you did!

There are still a few ticket available for the performances. Tickets are available at the Jazz at Lincoln Center website. www.jalc.org For more information about Mario Frangoulis visit: http://www.mariofrangoulis.com/



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Peter Danish Peter Danish is a Media Marketing Consultant and Classical Arts Presenter. He is a founding member of ArtsRock, where he presented concerts with such world renowned artists as Grammy winning Classical Guitarist Sharon Isbin, Grammy winning Violinist Marc O'Connor, The Eroica Trio, The American Brass Quintet, The New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet, Alec Baldwin, Louis Black and Robert Klein. At The Riverspace Performing Arts Center, he presented such artists as Meryl Streep, Jonathan Demme, Bill T. Jones, Bill Irwin, Mike Nichols, Ani Di Franco, Eve Ensler, Pete Seeger, Ellen Burstyn, Edward Albee and Kathleen Turner. He has programmed concerts and educational programs for a multitude of local arts organizations including the American National Opera and the Westchester Hudson Opera, and has lectured on opera and classical music in schools and libraries as part of their outreach programs. For over two decades he has served as Director of Marketing for NBC, Vice President of Marketing for Telemundo, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Azteca TV Network, and Marketing Consultant to PBS. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America, The Wagner Society of N.Y. and Board of Trustees of the award-winning classical concert series, The Carnegie Room Concerts at the Nyack Library. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Ad Age, Ad Week and Media Week.


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