April 12, 2020, Easter.
Béla Mavrak on Facebook: For this unusual Easter I want to share a piece of music that many find
comforting and hopeful. It's a fusion of Ave Maria, by Bach/Gounod and by Astor Piazzolla. I recorded this
very special piece in Italy, with the orchestra of Gennaro Desiderio. I would like to dedicate this song to all
the victims of this sad situation in the world.
I am honored to be appreciated by the media in my
home country. During my stay there I was
interviewed by several news outlets.
Magyar Szó TV guide
even chose me for their cover.
Without them and my fans’ support I wouldn’t be
where I am today.
June 2020 (corona time)
I have missed performing and traveling so
much, but now I am on my way to sing at an
open air concert this Sunday!
It will be an evening of movie melodies
with the Vojvodina Symphony Orchestra
to celebrate World Music Day.
Sunday at 20:30 in Novi Sad (Serbia),
entrance is free!
In March 2020 André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra had to return home from their American tour,
because of the world wide outbreak of COVID-19. They had only performed one concert in Tampa, Florida.
All big events world wide were canceled, also the Maastricht July concerts. In July 2020 the borders
between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany opened up again. We were allowed to be in the open air
with a few people without face masks.
The three tenors with their wives, met in private in Serge’s
hometown Kelmis, in Belgium. Gary and Béla live in Cologne,
Instagram: December 2, 2020.
Bela Mavrak on Facebook, January 22, 2021.
I want to share a song with you that my mother rescued from time herself.
She was an intelligent woman, and always interested in culture, history and music. When we lived in the
village of Szentmihály (Mihajlovo), she used to visit the older people and ask them to sing the songs they
learned from their parents and grandparents, and she would record them on her reel to reel tape recorder
so they would not be forgotten.
This is one of the songs she saved, and that I wanted to bring back to life for a new generation.
The song is in Hungarian, and tells the sad story of a young man who has to cross a deep hole in the
ground so he can pick a peony, but the flower is missing its leaves, just like the man is missing his lover.
The moon tells him his lover is underground, and separated from our world like a bird separated from the
Masterfully accompanied and improvised on piano by Aleksandar Dujin.
From Bela’s Facebook: March 2021.
I love being a singer, but did you know I only became one because of a coincidence?
A conductor, a friend of my parents, happened to hear me sing once, and organized for me to take the
conservatory entrance exam.
I had never heard an opera before in my life, so when I had to choose a song for the audition, I could only
sing Bolujem ja, the song my mother used to sing for me when I was sick as a child.
I got accepted, and that's how my career began!
July 1, 2021:
“On my way
and the JSO
in the studio
I'm so happy
we can make
July 20, 2021: Facebook: I am in Novi Sad (Serbia) again to record the last series of video clips.
We spent a beautiful evening at the Danube recording two world classics: 'Manhã de Carnaval' and
September 3, 2021.
Facebook: A trip to Maastricht for a short visit to André, it was very nice to see him again! We shared
memories from the 16 years we've worked together, and also the hope that we'll soon be on the road again.
We're going to use the footage for the documentary I'm still working on with Radio Television Vojvodina.
(Novi Sad, Serbia).
September 5, 2021.
Facebook: We just finished another two days of filming for the documentary, in Cologne this time. We were
lucky with the beautiful weather, and we had a fun time working together!
Article from the Serbian regional newspaper: List Zrenjanin, by Branka Jajić, September 17, 2020.
Brought to our attention and translated by Diana D. Le. Thanks Diana!
He doesn't forget where he came from.
What is the relationship between the scientist Albert Einstein; the most famous violinist of the 20th century,
Lord Yehudi Menuhin; and the tenor from Banat, Béla Mavrák? Einstein was in the audience at the first
concert of twelve-year-old Yehudi Menuhin. When Béla Mavrák was at the beginning of his career, he had
the honor of giving a concert with the then famous Yehudi Menuhin. The last letter that Menuhin sent in his
life was sent to Béla Mavrák, in which he thanked the young tenor for the opportunity to perform together
and wished him a long and successful career.
Will for the Future
"Three weeks after I received the letter, in 1999, Lord Yehudi Menuhin passed away", Béla Mavrák
remembers. "His letter is framed and has a special place on the wall of our house in Cologne. From
people like Menuhin, I learned to love people, to respect my colleagues and to never forget where I came
from in the world."
"And I have friends all over the world and they are the biggest and most natural, the simplest. Of course,
I learned everything that shaped my childhood and youth in my parents' home. I hope that all this will be
contained in a documentary film about my life and career, which is being shot by the team of Radio
Television of Vojvodina."
Mavrák was born in Baden, a famous spa near Vienna, where his mother Juliana's parents lived, while his
father Béla was serving his military service in Skopje. In Baden, where Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss
once played, little Béla performed for the first time. After returning from military service, Father Béla
Mavrák came for his wife Juliana, and his heir, who took his name and surname.
He grew up in Zrenjanin, in Njegoševa Street, and then in Mihajlovo, where his parents worked at the
Elementary School. He was educated in Zrenjanin, Belgrade, Germany, and Italy. If his mother had not
known Maestro Slobodan Bursać, where she sent him to singing lessons, he would probably never have
sung in the Youth Choir "Josif Marinković”.
"My mother taught Serbo-Croatian to children whose mother tongue was Hungarian, and she also led the
folklore section, did choreography, led a zither orchestra, and won awards at festivals throughout
Yugoslavia. As soon as Maestro Bursać heard me, I became a chorister in "Josif" where I sang with
pleasure, and he never charged me for an hour while he taught me harmony and counterpoint. I finished
the Lower Music School "Josif Marinković" in Zrenjanin, along with the elementary school, then the
Medical School and my parents wanted me to continue my studies."
Béla Mavrák had one of the first concerts with the Youth Choir "Josif Marinković" in the Nikolajevska
church in Novi Sad, where both children of Mileva Marić Einstein and Albert Einstein were baptized.
"And when it was already clear to everyone that my life's calling would be music, my mother knew that I
needed a more complete and broader music education. In Ljubljana, where I served in the army, I was a
cook, I also played in a military orchestra, and my friends encouraged me to compose", says Béla.
Cologne is, after all, his second home, although Béla says that nowhere, and he was in all parts of the
world, does he feel like a foreigner.
Love of Life
"I met my wife at the airport in Havana, Cuba, ten years ago (2010). She came as a translator carrying a
bouquet of flowers, accompanied by the Cuban Minister of Culture", Béla's memory is alive. "Translation
was not necessary because Spanish is one of the seven languages I speak. Emotions were mutual, we
soon started hanging out, and after two years we got married. She is a manager at a hotel in Cologne.
We are now going to lunch, to kebabs, to Duren, where my uncle, Josif Lukenić, a pioneer of Yugoslav
jazz, once lived, who played in the RTB and RTV orchestra, and then we moved to Germany. The day is
beautiful, our friends are there, and Diren is only 45 kilometers away from Cologne."
Béla Mavrák sang at the Opera of the National Theater in Belgrade and at the Opera in Cologne. He was
a member of the National Opera in Weimar, Germany, for two years, and his musical rise and world career
began when André Rieu heard him. After recording a CD with a German orchestra, Rieu invited him, in
2004 to Maastricht, the Netherlands, to sing in his orchestra, with which he has traveled the world for more
than fifteen years and performs with two other Platin Tenors. The first tour lasted a year and each concert
was a spectacle for the performers and the audience. Thus, after almost five years of persuasion, they
arrived in Belgrade at the "Stark Arena".
"It was fantastic," says Béla. "Thousands of hands clapped, and the audience sang "Far Away" with us.
Numerous concerts are planned this year as well, in America and Europe, we should be in "Stark Arena"
again in November (2020), but the pandemic postponed it all. But I am an optimist and I always hope for
better times. It will be, if there is a concert," as Béla says, "an already well-known repertoire that is always
refreshing with new compositions."
Memories from the concert in Zrenjanin are also alive. As he says, every bird returns to its nest. Okay,
maybe not every one, but he is, of course, the one who comes back.
"The last time I sang in Zrenjanin was at the 'Beer Days', with the Zrenjanin Philharmonic Orchestra two
years ago", Béla remembers. "That is my home audience, in front of which I like to sing. Many people, a
lot of applause, emotions. Two years earlier, it was also exciting at the New Year's concert with the
Zrenjanin Philharmonic. And before that, I think in 1994, there was a power outage at the Toša Jovanović
National Theater and it was very, very cold."
Communicative, open and cheerful, Béla Mavrák captivates on stage, as well as in walks around the cities
of Serbia, Europe, and the world. Meeting with the seller at the "flea market" in Maastricht, ended with the
purchase of painting "Exciting Street". Its author is a Russian master.
"I like to walk through the center of Zrenjanin or Novi Sad, to meet friends and acquaintances, to drink
coffee with them, to remember some ancient times." Béla Mavrák is emotional. "I like to walk around
Cologne, I go to an Italian restaurant with my wife, I am glad that she likes Zrenjanin, Mihajlovo, and
He speaks Serbian, Hungarian, German, English, Italian, Spanish and Russian, and sings in more than
ten languages. And when he sings, and when he talks, and when he listens to music or interlocutor, he
does it with a torrent of energy and emotions. And once again we are both convinced that without
emotions there is no song, concert, travel, meeting, or even life.
All Our Songs
Béla also listens to rock, pop, evergreens. He was delighted when he was a teenager with Pink Floyd. He
was at the concerts of the group "Dire Straits", Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, whom he met in person. He was
photographed with Anthony Hopkins. The world went crazy for "Macarena", and Béla sang with Antonio
and Rafael, "Los del Rio", who launched this song.
In 2010, he recorded the album "Un solo en el Aire" with the legends of Cuban music, members of the
band "Buena vista social club", which includes compositions from Hollywood movies, Cuban and songs
from our region "I'm sick, you're sick", "Little girl", "Only one kiss", "Chardash".
Adventures in the Wild
"As a child, I wanted to be an archaeologist, to travel and research. I couldn't even imagine that
somewhere on the planet people live like in prehistory. I have been to West Papua New Guinea three
times. Two cannibal tribes also live there. I was the first white man to visit them. Unthinkable, I slept on a
tree, as the natives do. They didn’t eat me, they laughed and sang with me. I also love animals, domestic
and wild, which I met in Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Togo, Congo. I also met gorillas. I was also in Borneo
and Sumatra, Indonesia, filming tribes in the jungle" - the story of Béla Mavrák's adventures.
Teaches Students as well
After completing his higher music education in Cologne, he studied with the famous Italian tenor Franco
Corelli, in Milan with Gianni Raimondi, in Bologna, as well as the Swedish tenor Nikolai Gede. As he
promised them, he now teaches belcante students at academies in Havana, São Paulo, Campinas,
El Salvador, Lima (where he was named an honorary professor), Tokyo, Cologne, and Timisoara.
In addition to music, he is also interested in fashion - he has a special style of clothing, and he is the
owner of an unusual collection of shoes. "I also enjoy photographing unusual landscapes."
March 2022: Touring the USA again, after two years of Covid-19 pandemic.
Photo: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
December 2022: From Bela’s Facebook:
I was awarded an Honorary Citizenship of the City of Zrenjanin today, for my contributions to
music and culture. It was a completely unexpected privilege, but of course I am very proud and happy!
With the Chairman of the Municipal Assembly and the Mayor of Zrenjanin.
Click HERE to go to
Bela Mavrak page 2.