Béla Mavrák was born to a Hungarian family in Baden bei Wien, Austria, and grew up in Vojvodina, former Yugoslavia, where his parents worked as teachers. In his youth he took piano lessons at the local music school and completed his secondary medical studies. In 1989 a professor at the Academy of Music in Belgrade discovered his vocal talent and helped him enroll there. In 1991 he was accepted at the prestigious University of Music in Cologne, Germany, where he graduated in 1994.
Alongside his university studies in Cologne, Béla attended master classes and received private singing
lessons taught by legendary tenors Franco Corelli in Milan and Gianni Raimondi in Bologna. He also took lessons with the great Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda and was part of the last generation of students who had the honor to study directly under these masters of the Italian belcanto tradition.
Béla began the ten years he dedicated to his education in Italy as a student. After winning the first prize and the Gold Medal at the International Singing Competition of Santa Margherita Ligure in 1993, his teacher Gianni Raimondi asked him to become his assistant during master classes. The huge amount of experience he accumulated working alongside such prominent figures of Italian lyrical singing means he has invaluable knowledge to teach to students around the world to help them further their education. This fact was demonstrated when the Universidad Ricardo Palma in Peru named him Honorary Professor in 2017, in recognition of his contributions to the university and world of opera singers in general.
After his success in Italy the National Theatre of Belgrade engaged him for his debut as Rodolfo in the 1994 production of La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini. From there he began a magnificent international career in major opera houses and concert halls such as the Berliner Philharmonie, the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, the Salzburger Festspielhaus, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Teatro Municipal in São Paulo and Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall in New York.
In 1998 he was hired as a soloist by the German National Theater in Weimar after Weimar was elected European Capital of Culture. For two years he sang mainly leading roles in ten different operas, including Faust in the opera by Gounod and The Damnation of Faust by Hector Berlioz, Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, a leading role in the European premiere of the opera Music for the living by Gia Kancheli, and portrayed different characters like Cassio in Verdi’s Otello, and the Italian singer in Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.
In 1999 he was invited to sing at a charity concert of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, conducted by the maestro himself, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, one of the greatest violinists of the twentieth century. Béla still considers this one of the most important moments of his career.
From 2000 he sang in theaters and opera houses around the world in roles such as Prince Sou-Chong in The Land of Smiles by Franz Lehár, Sándor Barinkay in The Gypsy baron by Johan Strauss, Edwin in The Gypsy princess by Imre Kálmán, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto by Verdi in Liguria and he reprized his role as Don Ottavio in the opera Don Giovanni in Bergamo, Italy.
Béla has also sang 43 different oratorios, two of which were recorded with him in a solo tenor part, for example the Petite Messe Solennelle by Rossini and Vivaldi’s Magnificat. In the Cologne Philharmonic he sang in the world premiere of In exitu Israel and Dixit Dominus by Marianna Martinez. He sang in the first performance of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio in Berlin, at the the Konzerthaus Gendarmenmarkt. He also appeared over twenty times in the role of Tamino in The Magic Flute by Mozart in multiple cities in Germany. He starred in La Traviata by Verdi as Alfredo in the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest.
December 2004 marked the beginning of the collaboration with André Rieu and his Johan Strauss Orchestra as one of the three ‘Platin Tenors’, one that is still ongoing to this day, and that has made him popular with millions of people as a part of the biggest classical show in the world. With Rieu he has appeared on numerous CDs and DVDs and performed in special locations such as the Semperoper in Dresden, Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, the Olympic Stadiums in Sydney, Melbourne and Toronto and football stadiums like Ajax’s Amsterdam Arena, the Stade de France in Paris and the Estadio Nacional in Lima, Peru.
A yearly recurring highlight are the open air summer concerts on the Vrijthof in Maastricht, the Netherlands, which are attended by thousands of people from all over the world. He was granted the Medal of Honor for his contributions to the city of Maastricht.
In 2016 Béla Mavrák celebrated his one thousandth concert as a member of André Rieu’s Platin Tenors. He is probably one of the few classical singers in the world who has sang in more than a thousand consecutive concerts without missing a single one, with over a hundred performances per year.
Béla’s versatile voice allows him to not only sing classical music, but also other musical genres that have resulted in several different projects. In 2010 he recorded his solo CD “Un soplo en el Aire” in Havana, working together with members of the Buena Vista Social Club. The CD contains a mix of Cuban songs, classics from Hollywood and more traditional songs from his youth combined with Latin rhythms. In 2015 he released the CD “Music is all for me”, a collaboration with German composer Jeanette Chéro, featuring retro swing songs arranged for big band.
In the summer of 2018 he sang in two large open air concerts. First at a musical gala in Belgrade organised by Radio Television of Serbia to celebrate their 60th anniversary, which starred many famous and well loved national musicians. A few days later he openend the Dani Piva, the traditional ‘Days of beer” festival, in his home town Zrenjanin with a performance at the main square of the city. Both concerts were attended by about 25000 people, breaking a record for the largest Dani Piva audience ever. This led to the people of Zrenjanin voting Béla the Person the Year in the culture category that year.
Béla also writes his own songs. For one of his songs, “Better day”, he traveled to Western New Guinea to record a video clip with the native tribes. He sang one of his other songs, “Butterfly”, in a benefit concert in the Frauenkirche in Dresden. He later recorded a new version of this song together with well known German reggae singer Gentleman.
Béla combines his professional commitments as a singer and teacher with a keen interest in the culture, the roots and the history of different peoples of the world. He has given master classes in Cologne, Germany, in Tokyo, Japan, at the Academy of the Teatro Lirico Nacional in Havana, Cuba, at the University of Campinas, the University of São Paulo and the Federal University of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, the Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru and the West University of Timişoara in Romania.
He is a citizen the world and believes that music is a universal human language which allows us to communicate with other cultures. In his many travels to remote parts of the earth and his contact with native peoples (in the jungles of Western New Guinea, Congo, Borneo, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, the Himalaya in Tibet and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and in the deserts of Syria, Jordan, Namibia and Peru) Béla has found inspiration for new music and his experiences have helped shape his personality to have an open, tolerant and humane view of the world.