- Franco Dragone is famous for his splashy, aquatic shows such as House of Dancing Water in Macau.
- The Italian-Belgian dramatist was a key architect of the Cirque du Soleil phenomenon.
Franco Dragone was one of the key architects of Cirque Du Soleil's unique theatrical style. Between 1985 and 1998, the Italian-Belgian dramatist directed nearly all of the Canadian entertainment company's most prestigious shows.
Then in 2000, he left.
Founding his own eponymous theater company, Dragone went on to create a live residency show for Canadian pop singer Celine Dion, and launch death-defying aquatic spectaculars in Macau and Las Vegas. Both became runaway hits.
Today, the company says close to 100 million people have seen Dragone's heart-stopping work.
And now for the first time, his magic is taking a permanent seat in the Middle East.
The pearl of the Middle East
On September 13, La Perle -- a show that took $400 million to bring to life -- had its world premiere in Dubai at the state-of-the-art, purpose-built theater of the same name, which holds 1,300 seats and will host 450 productions a year.
The stage alone is an engineering feat, holding a colossal 2.7 million liters of recycled water -- enough to fill an Olympic pool -- which can be drained in less than a minute for land-based exploits.
But it's the water stunts the crowds want -- performers flying across the stage at 15 kilometers an hour before diving from heights of 25 meters into the 860-square-meter pool and seemingly disappearing, only to return from land seconds later.
Dragone is no stranger to the United Arab Emira