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To Epiphany with love

Mario Frangoulis' concert Saturday, in honor of His All Holiness Bartholomew, will be a romantic affair in five languages.

By TERRI BRYCE REEVES
Published January 4, 2006


  Epiphany 1906-2006 Tarpon Springs, Florida

Friday's Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs promises to be the biggest, fattest, Greek affair in the city's 100-year history of Epiphany celebrations.

It might be the hottest too.

Saturday night, dashing, dark-haired tenor Mario Frangoulis will take the stage at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, joined by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. He'll be performing for the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church, His All Holiness Bartholomew.

But don't expect hymns.

"I will be singing romantic classical ballads," said Frangoulis, who is spending the week at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral Community Center rehearsing for Saturday's event. "My music is about love, friendship, family and our spiritual links to each other."

Frangoulis, who was raised primarily by his aunt in Greece, said he values love and family above all. He was married for four years, but is now divorced.

"Love is important to me. I need love in my life. We all do. It's the most important gift you can give to one another in any shape or form," he said.

Called "Sometimes I Dream," after one of Frangoulis' international albums, the Epiphany concert will feature the 38-year-old tenor singing in English, Spanish, Italian, French and, of course, Greek.

Soprano Debra Myers, 250 Greek dancers from the United States and Canada, and the Archdiocesan Metropolitan Youth Choir from New York also will participate in the concert.

"It will truly be a celebration of music from all over the world," said Frangoulis, who was born in Africa and moved to Greece when he was 4.

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will accompany Frangoulis because the concert's organizers had an existing relationship with that company, according to Kristin Perry, who is helping with the event.

Frangoulis and Myers, who have both performed in London's West End in Phantom of the Opera, will reunite to sing Music of the Night and Phantom of the Opera. Frangoulis will also sing a few Cole Porter ditties - since he had a cameo role in the recent film biography of the American songwriter, De-Lovely.

Frangoulis will even belt out the 1970s Moody Blues hit, Nights in White Satin.

Frangoulis, who draws his unique style from film, pop, musical theater and opera, said he began singing as a toddler.

"I discovered this unique sound that came out of this box," he said. "I was charmed by it. It became a way to express myself, my emotions."

By 17, he was singing classical and operatic songs. He also plays the violin and hopes to parlay that one day into a starring role in Fiddler on the Roof.

The title of his album and Saturday's concert is drawn from Frangoulis' own career dreams. He plans to spend time in New York City, where he hopes to pursue roles in film, theater, opera and - if the role is right - television.

"I wouldn't take a soap opera role, although I enjoy them," he said.

He has studied acting at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama and attended New York's Julliard School on a scholarship. He records for the Sony International label.

But his true love, he said, is singing in front of a big audience.

"I am a live animal," he said. "That's what I do best and love to do most."

* * *

PREVIEW: The "Sometimes I Dream" concert in honor of His All Holiness Bartholomew will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, 4202 E Fowler Ave. $35-$150. Call the box office at 813 974-3002, Ticketmaster at (813) 287-8844 or visit www.ticketmaster.com for discounted tickets (select the Promotions and Special Offers box).

All proceeds from the event will benefit the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Parochial School of Tarpon Springs.

[Last modified January 4, 2006, 13:00:40]


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