Fecha de nacimiento:
12 de diciembre de 1952
Textos musicados de
Cancioneros con canciones
de Franco Dragone
(born 1952) is a Belgian theatre director. He is the founder and artistic director of Dragone, a creative company specializing in the creation of large-scale theatre shows. He is also known for his work with Cirque du Soleil and Celine Dion.
CNN says that Dragone was "one of the key architects of Cirque du Soleil's theatrical style", and that "while Cirque du Soleil's signature was contemporary circus, Dragone's solo work embodies more theater, dance -- and, of course, water" through the use of his "trademark" aquatic stages.
Dragone was born in 1952 in Cairano, a small town in southern Italy. At the age of seven, he moved to the mining region of La Louvière in Belgium with his family so his parents could work in Belgium's coal mines. He remembers that being an "artist" was not treated seriously by the mining community in La Louvière. His father, however, was broad-minded and enrolled Dragone in a liberal lycée
. As a student, Dragone was taught a wide range of topics and was allowed to choose his field of interest. Dragone chose the arts.
In the 1970s he studied theatre at the Belgian Royal Conservatory of Mons. Starting his career as an actor in subsidized Belgian art theater, he switched to activist theater, or "theater without actors" according to Dragone. His earliest theatrical work was explicitly political, working as a director of theatre and film in the mode of the commedia dell'arte
dramatist Dario Fo. The theatre works he helped create expressed social situations, interpreting true stories of the homeless, drug addicts, and prison inmates, and casting non-actors who shared their stories to perform in the shows. In this context Dragone began to teach staging, or visual expression, and came to believe that it was "possible to do high quality shows for mainstream people".
Cirque du Soleil
In the 1980s, Dragone came to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in pursuit of "a beautiful girl". In Montreal, Guy Caron, director of the National Circus School, invited him to conduct workshops with the students and teachers at his school. Dragone then created, directed and produced a show for the end of the school year. Guy Laliberté saw one of these performances in 1984, the same year he formed Cirque du Soleil. In 1985, Laliberté sought out Guy Caron to join Cirque du Soleil. Caron, in turn, asked Dragone to join as a creator.
From the years 1985 to 1998, Dragone would direct nearly all of Cirque du Soleil's most prestigious shows and played a significant role in developing Cirque du Soleil's distinctive merging of theater and circus performance. In the early 1990s, Dragone's reputation grew with the production of Nouvelle Expérience
, nontraditional circus productions in which postmodern dance, music, and circus acrobatics were interlaced with a dreamlike narrative.
His visibility greatly increased after he directed and introduced the cutting-edge Cirque du Soleil production Mystère
at the Treasure Island hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mystère
helped to change the nature of production shows in Las Vegas. While Dragone would direct only one other show with the company in Las Vegas, O
in 1998, to many he was the face of Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. The shows Dragone created with Cirque du Soleil had single-handedly brought the contemporary circus movement into the mainstream of American entertainment. Around the world, close to 100 million people have now seen Dragone’s creations. Dragone directed Cirque du Soleil's first motion picture, Alegría
, in 1999. In 1999 Dragone directed the music video for Lara Fabian's song "Adagio".
In 2000 he amicably split from Cirque du Soleil and formed his own company called the Franco Dragone Entertainment Group (later shortened to "Dragone"), based in his hometown of La Louvière in Belgium. In 2003 Dragone created A New Day...
starring Céline Dion at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. When A New Day
ended its run in 2007, Billboard
reported it was the highest-grossing residency of all time.
In 2005, Dragone debuted his fourth production on the Las Vegas Strip with the opening of Le Rêve
at the Wynn Las Vegas. For this show he used performers mainly from disciplines related to gymnastics. Like his 1998 show O
for Cirque du Soleil, Le Rêve
made extensive use of a custom-designed water stage. CNN called it a "bombastic, splashy celebration of life" with "diving feats and stunning special effects".
In 2007, he directed a new musical based on Prosper Mérimée's novella Carmen
, which premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse. He also worked on an adaption of the Divine Comedy
with composer Ennio Morricone
Franco Dragone was in charge of the opening ceremony show for the 2010 South American Games that took place in Medellín, Colombia on March 19, 2010. The main themes of the show were inspired by Medellin's culture, business and geography.
Dragone in Macau and Dubai
In 2010, building on his previous experience using aquatic stages in O
and Le Rêve
, Dragone directed a Macau-based show entitled The House of Dancing Water
in the City of Dreams. The House of Dancing Water
is the largest aquatic production in the world, and was developed by Dragone in Belgium over 19 months, with the permanent theater taking five years to build. It features around 70 artists, some from Dragone's previous creations with Cirque du Soleil, performing dance, swimming and acrobatics. The House of Dancing Water
is set in the 2000-seat Dancing Water Theater designed by Pei Partnership Architects. The 270-degree theater-in-the-round has a central stage with a diameter of approximately 25 meters (82 feet), surrounded by sloped seating on three sides. The theater arena has a 40-meter-high steel trussed space (30 meters clear) providing generous height to the show’s display of acrobatics. The show, which incorporates various design elements such as fire, water effects, and atmospheric effects, premiered on 17 September 2010.
In 2012, Dragone's new cabaret Taboo: The Show Naughty and Naughtier
premiered at City of Dreams.
On March 29, 2012, Dragone was awarded a doctor honoris causa
degree for general merits by the University of Antwerp, in recognition of his innovative and cosmopolitan approach to theatre.
In 2012 Dragone's business group came under investigation by Belgian authorities for "serious and organized international tax offenses" and money laundering. The group's offices in Louvain, as well as the private homes of Franco Dragone, the group's CEO, its CFO and a former employee, were raided in October 2012 as part of the investigation. The Belgian investigating office suspected Dragone of fraudulently using a global network of shell companies to conceal assets in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes. In a press conference addressing the investigation in January 2013, Dragone claimed that the purpose of setting up this international structure had not been to commit fraud, but to avoid double or triple taxation by different countries. He added that he was ready to change his business' structure to provide more transparency. His company Lina International, reportedly used to finance The House of Dancing Water
, was named in the Panama Papers in 2015.
In early 2013, Dragone produced, created and directed Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation
, a show that ran from February 28 through March 9, 2013 as the centrepiece event of the Qasr al-Hosn festival in Abu Dhabi. The show celebrated Emirati history with technology, acrobatics, and traditional Emirati dance and music.
In 2014, Dragone opened The Han Show
in Wuhan, China, celebrating the essence of the Han culture. The Han Show Theater, designed by Mark Fisher and inspired by the traditional red Chinese lantern, is 60 meters high, 100 meters in diameter and houses more than 2000 seats. In spring 2015, Dragone created a new show in Paris for the cabaret Le Lido, titled Paris Merveilles
. In March 2016 he confirmed he was working on a new project for Las Vegas. In 2016, Dragone directed a new show featuring Russian pop icon Philipp Kirkorov called lk=yes 'I'), which premiered in the Kremlin Palace on March 16.
In 2017, Dragone's show La Perle
opened in Al Habtoor City, Dubai, in a custom-made 10-story theater. The show involved waterfalls, fires, motorcyclists spinning inside a suspended metal sphere, acrobatics into water, and other features. Preparing La Perle
took Dragone four to five years, and during its first year he "continually tweaked and improved" the show.
By September 2017, around 100 million people had seen Dragone's work.
Cirque du Soleil
- 1985: La Magie Continue
- 1987: Le Cirque Réinventé
- 1990: Nouvelle Expérience
- 1992: Saltimbanco
- 1993: Mystère
- 1994: Alegría
- 1996: Quidam
- 1998: O
- 1998: La Nouba
- 1999: Alegría (1999 film) (co-writer, director and producer)
- Music video for Lara Fabian's song "Adagio"
- Décrocher la lune, La Louvière, directed by Luc Petit
- Opening ceremony of Euro 2000
- Chapeau Europa: Ceremony for the European Union Belgian Presidency in Brussels
- Disney Cinema Parade, for Disneyland Paris
- Décrocher la lune 2, La Louvière, directed by Luc Petit
- Au fil de l’homme
- A New Day..., for Céline Dion
- Le Rêve, at the Wynn Las Vegas
- Ma tête est ailleurs, for Saule et les Pleureurs, Mons, Belgium
- Décrocher la lune 3, La Louvière, directed by Luc Petit
- Carmen, the Musical, San Diego
- Othello, passeur, Mons, Belgium
- Fortissim’O, Vienna
- Le Potager des visionnaires, Quebec, for the 400th birthday of Quebec City
- KDO, Brussels
- Décrocher la lune 4, La Louvière, directed by Luc Petit
- 2010 South American Games opening show in Medellín, Colombia
- The House of Dancing Water at City of Dreams, Macau
- Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation, Abu Dhabi
- The Han Show in Wuhan, China
- Paris Merveilles at Le Lido in Paris, France
- The Dai Show in Xishuangbanna, China
- La Perle at Al Habtoor City, Dubai
- Я (Ya) for Philipp Kirkorov
- 1985: La vente aux enchères, Cirque du Trottoir
- 1986: Eldorado, Compagnie des Mutants
- 1987: Les Communs des Mortels, a Compagnie du Campus and Collectif 1984 coproduction
- 1987: Flic, Flac, Compagnie des Funambules (Belgium)
- 1987: La tête dans le si bémol, with Michel Dallaire and Pierre Lafontaine
- 1992: La ballade de l'homme gris, Compagnie du Campus
- 1993: Pomp, Duck, Circumstance, Düsseldorf
- 1996: Poussière du temps, Compagnie du Campus
- 2015: Paris Merveilles, cabaret Lido de Paris
- 2016: Cagnasse tutto, Foja at Teatro di San Carlo, Naples
- Yves Vasseur, Franco Dragone: une part de rêve, ed. Luc Pire, 2006
- Yves Vasseur, Franco Dragone, une improbable odyssée, ed. Labor, 2002
- Franco Dragone, Claude Renard, Le Tailleur du Rêve, ed. Les Impressions Nouvelles, 2006
- Jacob Berger, Le Rêve, 2005: documentary series for Arte about Franco Dragone's work on the show Le Rêve
- Manu Bonmariage, Looking For Dragone, 2009