Frangoulis was born in Rhodesia in 1967, but moved to Greece at age 4, to be raised by his aunt and uncle.
He took part in choirs as a leading tenor from the age of eight and at the age of 11 he recorded the part of Isaac in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He took part in several school theatrical performances. At age 15, he was the Master of Ceremonies in the Joe Masteroff, Fred Ebb, and John Kander musical theater production Cabaret and at age 16 he was Tony in the Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim musical West Side Story. He studied the violin at the Athens Conservatorium for 11 years before graduating in 1984.
In 1985, he moved to London, where he did a three-year professional acting course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1988, he played Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream with great critical acclaim in his final year drama school production in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company for the Arundel Festival. British theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh saw him in a musical and, after an audition, offered him the young romantic lead Marius in the West End production of Les Miserables (musical) at the Palace Theatre, where he performed for a year, in 1988-89. The musical was directed by Trevor Nunn, at the time the director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In 1988, he won the coveted Maria Callas Scholarship for Opera. After the successful run of Les Miserables, he went to Italy where he studied with tenor Carlo Bergonzi in the Verdi Academy in Busseto, Verdi’s birthplace, graduating six months later.
In Italy, he met famous tenor Alfredo Kraus and became his private pupil, accompanying him all over the world to take lessons from him for more than a year. In 1991, he was invited by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to star as the young lead Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End, directed by Harold Prince.
From 1992 up until 1995, he moved to New York to continue his operatic studies with soprano Dodi Protero, at the introduction of his mentor Marilyn Horne, in a three-year part-time course at the Juilliard School. In 1992, he won the Onassis Scholarship, which enabled him to continue his studies. In 1993, he sang at the Athens Music Concert hall in an opera gala dedicated to the memory of Maria Callas. In 1994, he was a distinguished finalist of the Luciano Pavarotti International Competition. On his return to London in 1995, Mario Frangoulis was invited to play the young lead Lun-Tha in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I for a few performances during the Covent Garden Festival and won critical acclaim from The Times, The Guardian and other newspapers.
“Follow your heart wherever it takes you.
Nobody knows where the wind blows. No one can say.”
In recent years Frangoulis has chosen to focus on traditional and pop music from around the world, as he can sing in Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, and English, in an effort to bridge the gap between “popular” and operatic music and attract younger audiences to operatic productions.