NEW YORK – The famed Hungarian violinist Zoltán Mága performed at Carnegie Hall on April 11 with his orchestra, the Budapest Gypsy Virtuosi, and internationally renowned special guests, the Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis and Israeli violinist Shlomo Mintz. The enthusiastic audience was dazzled by Mága’s skill and passion as he performed his repertoire combining classical, Hungarian folk music, pop, and even jazz.
Having performed on five continents and in about 100 countries, Mága is a consummate performer and brings his particular style and sense of humor to the stage as he did in this memorable performance at Carnegie Hall along with his impressive orchestra. The evening’s program included classical pieces by Brahms, Shostakovich, Bach, and Liszt, as well as compositions by Bella Bartok and Hungarian folk dances. Mága’s son, the 13-year-old Zoltán, Jr., also performed two pieces which delighted the audience. The youngster’s skill and technique were remarkable, especially in the well-known Meditation from Thaïs by Jules Massenet.
Mario Frangoulis performed three pieces interspersed throughout the program. In flawless form, Frangoulis, who performed without a microphone, seemed to enjoy every moment he was on the stage, and the appreciative audience cheered enthusiastically. The first song he performed, the well-known Granada by Agustin Lara with its romance and charm, was an ideal showcase for the tenor and his enchanting voice. The second song was from Franz Lehar’s Land of Smiles and is titled Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (Yours Is My Heart Alone).
The third song was by Francesco Paolo Tosti and Frangoulis dedicated it to Marilyn Horne, his mentor from his time studying at Juilliard, whom he thanked from the stage for all her help and advice over the years. The audience responded with warm applause for his excellent performance of each of the three songs.
Frangoulis, who studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, first garnered international acclaim for his roles in musical theater, as Marius in London’s West End production of Les Miserables and as Raul in The Phantom of the Opera. After winning the Maria Callas Scholarship, he was invited by Marilyn Horne to attend The Juilliard School. He also played Lun Tha in The King and I, with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Wally Harper.
In 2000, Frangoulis was the first Greek tenor to perform at La Scala in Milan as Tony in West Side Story and then signed a contract with the then-Sony Classical director, Peter Gelb. Since then, he has worked with artists such as Placido Domingo, José Carreras, Angela Gheorghiu, Lara Fabian, and Sarah Brightman. In addition, Frangoulis is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO and also an international ambassador of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.
The concert began with welcoming remarks by Attila Glatz, the producer of the show, and a speech by Ambassador Katalin Annamária Bogyay, the Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN, who thanked her many colleagues from the UN in attendance for making it a truly international event.
Among those present at the concert were the Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN Ambassador Maria Theofili, the Consulate General of Greece in New York Cultural and Public Relations officer Evelyn Kanelleas, and the Director of the Press Office of the Permanent Mission of Greece to the UN, Ioannis Bouboukis.