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The Voice From Greece

Mario Frangoulis, an operatic tenor from Athens, Greece, is crossing over to the United States.

Frangoulis made a stop in New York and performed several songs from his new album "Sometimes I Dream," for The Saturday Early Show's Second Cup Café.

The young tenor's good looks may distract listeners from his voice - but only for a moment. His international debut is not a purely classical effort - the album blends operatic, classical music with his Mediterranean heritage.

Born in Africa in colonial Rhodesia (later to become Zimbabwe), he survived a childhood marked by hardships. As a four-year-old, his mother found a home for him with her sister in Greece, at a time when the political situation in Africa was explosive and dangerous. Raised by his aunt in Greece and separated from his older brother, Frangoulis was surrounded by a large extended family.

At 17, he was sent to London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study acting. Afterwards, he performed in musicals in London, such as Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.

Later, Frangoulis discovered his operatic calling. In 1993, he won the Maria Callas Prize, for which he auditioned simply because he knew some arias and a friend encouraged him. He went on to New York's Juilliard School of Music as a scholarship student. His pursuits won him the support and counsel of such operatic legends as Alfredo Kraus and Marilyn Horne.

The tenor returned to Greece and released several records that went double platinum in his native land. He then recorded his first international album, "Sometimes I Dream."

His expressive voice on "Sometimes I Dream" belts out passionate songs as varied as "Buon Giorno Principessa," inspired by the Oscar-winning score from "Life Is Beautiful"; popular Spanish songs; "Luna Rossa," a Neopolitan dance number; and an Italian rendition of The Moody Blues' "Nights In White Satin," with Justin Hayward singing along.

Frangoulis has a PBS special that is airing in December.

The Voice From Greece

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