Mario Outdoes Andrea,
Thrills Packed Crowd in Boston

(HCS)—Mario Frangoulis left all competition behind last evening at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre in Cambridge as he brought the house down repeatedly. A wildly enthusiastic crowd refused to let the internationally acclaimed vocalist depart the stage at the conclusion of his benefit concert for The Greek Institute. With his dynamic stage presence, vocal virtuosity, and movie-star good looks, this young man clearly demonstrated that he is tops in his field.

Frangoulis performed a diverse selection of more than 20 pieces in five languages, including several well-known Greek ones and an original composition by his pianist, Theodoris Oikonomou. The songs ranged from operatic to popular and traditional (Greek), many inspirational and centering on love, a few from his best-selling CD's. The vocalist's Italian-and-English rendition of "Nights in White Satin," inspired by his acquaintance with guitarist Justin Hayward, drew rave accolades from the audience, as did the next number, "Canzone Arrabbiata," with its quick tempo. The program closed with a finger-snapping Greek zeimbekiko, "Arnisi," with which the audience sang along, and Italian "Mattinata" and "Conte Partiro," dedicated to Mario's friend Andrea.

Music critics have hailed Frangoulis as the next worldwide singing sensation with such remarks as "Prepare to be swept away!" "Move over, Andrea Bocelli!" and in describing one of his top-selling albums, "bathed in the passionate atmosphere of the Mediterranean." Frangoulis has only recently become known in the U.S., following his appearance in a PBS television special several years ago capturing a live outdoor concert in Thessaloniki, and later as a starring performer for the Summer Olympics in Athens.

Frangoulis has appeared with many notable superstars such as Alanis Morissette, Natalie Cole, Robbie Willilams, Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, and Sheryl Crow. Moreover, his acting background landed him a role in the biography of Cole Porter, De Lovely, which starred Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd.

Although born in Rhodesia of Greek parents, he was raised in Athens by an aunt and uncle who introduced him to music. He studied violin and acting in London, also attending London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and appearing in Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. While at Guildhall, he won the Maria Callas Prize. His operatic studies took him to New York's Juilliard School of Music on a scholarship and later to such operatic legends as Alfredo Kraus and Marilyn Horne.

In Greece, Mario has appeared—to much acclaim—in "everything from the role of high-school hero Danny Zuko in Grease to a production of Aristophanes' The Birds featuring the songs of Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis (the Oscar-winning composer of "Never On Sunday") in the ancient amphitheater at Epidaurus," writes Maria Anagnostopoulos, the Assistant Director of The Greek Institute. For this independent, non-profit institution, the sell-out concert at Harvard recalled echoes of another such successful performance at Sanders in 1998, the "Celebration of Greek Music in America" concert with 70 Greek and Near-Eastern musicians led by legendary Fred Elias and Chris Papoutsy.

Accompanying Frangoulis was a 27-piece orchestra led by note conductor Michael Butterman. Currently the Music Director for both the Shreveport Symphony and the Boulder Philharmonic, he is also on the conducting staff o the Jacksonville Symphony and the Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In great demand nationwide, Butterman has appeared throughout the country with many symphonies and orchestras. His work has been featured in nationwide NPR broadcasts and can be heard on CD's recorded for the Newport Classics label.

Perfoming in the orchestra were Theodoris Oikonomou (piano), Rachel Braude (flute), Panagiotis Liaropoulos (synthesizer), Andrea Bonsignoire (oboe/English horn), Lisa Brook, Robert Curtis, Dana Ianculovici, Susan Faux, Olga Kouznetsova (all five violinists), Peter Cokkinias (clarinet), Emilian Badea (bassoon), Richard Given and Charles Lewis (trumpets), Don Drishnaswami and Jennifer Tanzer (both violas), Carolyn Cantrell and Nancy Hudgins (both French horns), Jan Pfeiffer and Beth Pearson (cellos), John Faietta (trombone), John Damian (guitar), Theodoulos Vakanas (bouzouki), William Manley and Mark Worgaftik (percussion, both), Blendi Dhamis (bass), Fred Buda (drums), and Martha Moor (harp).

(Posting date 17 June 2006)

For more information about Mario Frangoulis, see HCS articles Greek Tenor Mario Frangoulis--the Next Andrea Bocelli? and Greek Tenor Mario Frangoulis to Debut Solo U.S. Concert Tour at NYC in May and Mario Frangoulis Solo Concert with Baltimore Symphony. Visit also his website at or contact his fan club, Mario Frangoulis & Friends at the email address

For more information about The Greek Institute, visit its website online at the URL, or contact the group directly at 1038 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, (tel.) 617-547-4770. GI is an independent, non-profit cultural and educational institution, founded in 1988 by Dr. Athan Anagnostopoulos.

HCS encourages readers to view other current articles and releases in our site under the Music and Arts section and also in our permanent, extensive archives at, especially under the Music section and the category for The Greek Institute.

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