Explore the musical universe with three world-renowned vocalists and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.
Show date: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Show time: 8 p.m.
Tickets start at $35.00
Walt Disney Theater
Presented by The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans and the Dr. Phillips Center
Two decades ago, fans were swooning over the Three Tenors, which included Placido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti. Today, many of those same fans — plus legions of new ones — are equally enthralled by two tenors and a soprano.
Of course, that’s not the official name of the present-day trio, which consists of Mario Frangoulis, George Perris and Deborah Myers. But, in addition to their solo concert appearances worldwide, the three friends sometimes share stages for memorable evenings of musical magic.
The show has a name, even if the group doesn’t. It’s called Amour: Three Voices from Broadway to the Stars, and it’s coming to the Walt Disney Theater on Saturday, October 15. Showtime is 8 p.m., and tickets start at $35.
The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will accompany the performers, who’ll likely sing everything from operatic arias to show tunes to familiar classics from the Great American Songbook.
Amour is being made possible by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans — for which Frangoulis and Perris are international ambassadors — in partnership with Harvey L. Massey, James M. Seneff Jr. and Clarence Otis Jr., all generous contributors to the arts center.
Frangoulis, 48, is a classical crossover artist whose vocals have been described as “daring and inspiring” by Billboard magazine. Born in Africa and raised in Greece, he studied at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he was discovered by legendary producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh.
In 1988, Mackintosh brought Frangoulis, who sings in five languages, to London's West End to play Marius in Les Misérables. Three years later, he was cast by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber as Raoul in the West End pro-duction of The Phantom of the Opera.
Although Frangoulis didn’t originally train as a singer — he instead concentrated on acting and playing the violin — he received the Maria Callas Scholarship for Opera and studied with tenor Carlo Bergonzi at the Verdi Academy in Northern Italy, graduating in six months.
At the recommendation of his mentor, acclaimed soprano Marilyn Horne, Frangoulis then auditioned for legendary Spanish tenor Alfredo Kraus. He became Kraus’ only private student, traveling with him around the world to study performance and vocal technique.
Frangoulis' recording career was launched in 2002, when he was discovered by Peter Gelb, then head of Sony Classical Records and now general manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His first two albums, Sometimes I Dream and Follow Your Heart, were international hits. He has since released 13 more albums. In 2004, Frangoulis appeared with Kevin Kline in the film De-Lovely, based on the life of Cole Porter. He played Alfred Drake, a Broadway star, and sang “So in Love” from Kiss Me, Kate with Belgian diva Lara Fabian.
Combining the classical and the contemporary, Frangoulis is comfortable performing opera, pop, rock, folk, soul and world music. He has appeared with a who’s who of world-class artists, including fellow tenors Domingo and Carreras.
In 2012, Frangoulis was invited by the late Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees to record “Daybreak,” which was part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s epic symphonic work, The Titanic Requiem. It turned out to be one of the last songs Gibb ever wrote.
George Perris, 33, was born in Athens to a Greek father and a French mother. As a child, he studied piano and later earned a degree in Greek literature from the University of Athens.
But he always wanted to be a singer. His first album, Kainouria Mou Mera, was released by EMI in 2006. A single from the album, “Karavani,” was included in an annual compilation that Radio Française distributes worldwide — a rare achievement for a Greek-speaking artist.
In 2008, Perris was a featured performer at the Athens Arena International Music Festival, which was hosted by none other than Frangoulis. At the same time, his second album, Perno Anasa, was released by Sony BMG. It included a duet with Frangoulis.
He toured Europe as the opening act for Lara Fabian, whom you’ll remember as Frangoulis’ De-Lovely duet partner. He also visited Russia to perform with the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra.
Piling up even more frequent-flyer miles, Perris has toured Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Monaco, Thailand, Turkey and, more recently, the U.S., generally as a guest of local symphony orchestras. Along the way, he shared many stages with Frangoulis and Myers.
In 2014, Perris released his first English-speaking album, Picture This, for which he wrote three songs. The following year, his first PBS special, Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center, was broadcast nationally. And earlier this year, he announced that he was recording an album of duets with — you guessed it — Frangoulis.
Myers, a soaring soprano, is one of the U.K.’s most versatile performers. Classically trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, she made her professional debut in a Covent Garden Festival production of The King and I. She later appeared in a West End production of The Pirates of Penzance and a BBC Radio 2 production of Carousel.
Myers has performed as a soloist with some of the world’s leading symphony orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. She recently recorded her first solo album for EMI.
AN EXTRAORDINARY TRIO OF ACHIEVERS
The three local business leaders who are partnering with the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans to bring Amour to Orlando are among a highly select group of achievers. Harvey L. Massey, James M. Seneff Jr. and Clarence Otis Jr. are among only 200 or so living recipients of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award.
The awards are presented annually to individuals who’ve shown a commitment to philanthropy and higher education — and who’ve overcome significant personal challenges to achieve success.
Massey, who won the award this year, is chairman and CEO of Massey Services. Seneff, executive chairman of CNL Financial Group, won in 2010, while Otis, retired CEO of Darden Restaurants, won in 2007.
“We’re fortunate to live in the greatest nation the world has ever known,” says Massey. “The foundation of this greatness lies in liberty, freedom and opportunity for all. This special evening will further the Horatio Alger organization’s important mission of encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education.”
Seneff says he’s “thrilled to bring three out-standing performers to our hometown” in support of the association's important work. Otis adds that the association “is close to my heart” because it offers opportunities for disadvantaged youth and “helps them realize all that they can accomplish.”
BY RANDY NOLES for artsLife magazine. To read the entire Fall 2016 edition click here.