The atmosphere in the auditorium was electric. The level of excitement high - almost crackling. The patrons were dressed elegantly, everyone looking radiant and beautiful - effervescent if you will for we were moments away from seing Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis perform live. And we know that there would be songs from his soon to be released album, Beautiful Things.
The house lights dim and the Maestro takes place before The York Symphony Orchestra and welcomes on stage two dignitaries for a short introduction and then, Mario Frangoulis took to the stage, walking toward his eager audience smiling – no beaming – and ready for his performance.
Immediately he performs NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN followed by VINCERO, PERDERO. I sat, staring. There is nothing finer than hearing ‘The Voice’ that one is so very familiar with perform the masterpieces that one knows, virtually by heart. It is almost as if one were listening to the record whilst watching. What a thrill that was – two great songs at the top of the bill.
Mario says, “OK, this is it … you have been waiting for this – here it comes … BEAUTIFUL THINGS", and the audience gasps with sheer delight. He performs ‘Beautiful Things’ magnificently at the end of whish, the crowd applauds with a well deserved standing ovation – one of many to come that evening still.
You can tell that Frangoulis is pleased. He beams at the generous applause from the audience. And the night progresses, becoming finer and finer with each performed note. Next up is UN JOUR, UN ENFANT also from ‘Beautiful Things’ after which Mario takes a short break and leaves the stage to soprano Lisa Williamson.
Back again, he performs a BROADWAY MUSICAL MEDLEY of TONIGHT (West Side Story), ALL I ASK OF YOU (Phantom of the Opera), I HAVE DREAMED (The King and I) and SO IN LOVE (Kiss Me Kate).
The audience shows their unending appreciation for this man they love so, and he shares that sentiment right back at his audience. You can easily tell that Frangoulis is very relaxed at this time in the program for he is beaming, chatting, laughing, and thanking the audience and the members of The York Symphony Orchestra.
“And now,” he says, “A special song for my Spanish-speaking friends,” as he performs (so beautifully and so delicately but with enormous power) HIJO DE LA LUNA. Another standing ovation as Frangoulis introduces THE FACE and begins to perform another spectacular piece from ‘Beautiful Things’. The crowd rises again at the end of THE FACE and once the unending applause dies down, Frangoulis approaches the microphone, leaves it docked, draws his mouth in tight and performsHERE’S TO THE HEROES. Simply stunning! From the first note to the last, this performance is delicate, articulate, powerful, Frangoulis – at the end of which the already highly stimulated audience once again stands their ovation.
He leaves as the orchestra plays the OVERTURE and returns for (what seems to be his finale)BECAUSE WE BELIEVE. The audience is electric and expresses gratitude with yet another standing ovation. And with that, he is gone. But the crowd is not leaving and as a befitting spectacular finale to an already perfect evening, Mario returns to the stage and presents NEVER ON SUNDAY and a medley of Greek classics whilst dancing, beaming, laughing, and engaging his audiences each emotion.
The crowd applauds feverishly at the end of the performance and by looking at Frangoulis, one can instantly tell that he is pleased. Pleased with his performance. Pleased with his audience. Please at how well received the new songs were. Simply pleased.
But for Frangoulis, the night is simply beginning. After this powerful performance, he spends time with his friends and fans signing autographs, taking photos, chatting, hugging, giving, loving …. all trademarks of the Mario Frangoulis that the world has come to admire, respect, and love.
Unquestionably the tenor of the 21st Century, Frangoulis is just getting started. With the launch of ‘Beautiful Things’ rapidly approaching, this gentle yet fiercely determined performer stands at the threshold of the next chapter of success and this patron can think of no one more deserving.
Thank you Mario for the gift of music that you give, with such grace.