Belgian director Franco Dragone died of cardiac arrest at the age of 69. He was in Cairo, Egypt. His death was confirmed on Friday by Cirque du Soleil, in a brief statement sent to the media.
Posted at 15:31
“We are sincerely with his friends, his family and the entire Dragon organization,” wrote the management of Cirque du Soleil in a press release. His disappearance is a great loss not only for his loved ones, but also for the industry. ”
It must be said that director Franco Dragone signed some of Cirque’s most emblematic productions in the 90s, in collaboration with artistic director Gilles Ste-Croix and co-founder Guy Laliberté.
Saltimbanco, Cheerfulness, Who, without forget The Noubawhich ran for 20 years in Orlando, and permanent shows in Las VegasMystery and O. The performances on Friday night will be dedicated to him, Cirque said.
Former Cirque president and CEO Daniel Lamarre welcomed the news of Franco Dragone’s death as a “terrible shock” and did not hesitate to talk about the loss of a “monument” of creation.
“I still saw him regularly, he confided The print, especially in Las Vegas, where he remained emotionally attached to the Circus. Whenever we made changes to our programs, we talked to each other, he was a world famous creator with a head full of ideas, until recently. He brought a lot of theatricality to the circus and we felt his humanism of him in his shows of him.
According to Daniel Lamarre, who is now executive vice president of Cirque’s board of directors, Franco Dragone’s greatest achievement remains the show. orpresented for 24 years at the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
“It’s a masterful show, let it fall. Is the biggest. No other Cirque show compares to it. It is also a commercial success that continues today ”. According to Cirque, 18 million tickets or have been sold to date.
When the shows resume Mystery And or in Las Vegas in 2021 (after the forced shutdown due to the pandemic), The print he had also met Franco Dragone to return to these creations. He was then recovering from leukemia.
She reminded our colleague Silvia Galipeau of her mantra: “Speak to a large audience, in a popular but sophisticated language. Offer something of high quality, but with a thought behind it. In the show there is a substance, a cause must be defended. If there is no cause, it is gesticulation!
Franco Dragone left the Cirque family at the turn of the 2000s to devote himself to his own company Dragone, based in La Louvière, Belgium, where he grew up. He has produced and directed numerous shows in Europe and China. He also directed the show A new day by Celine Dion at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The only drawback is that the Belgian artistic director has had to defend himself for years against charges of tax evasion and money laundering. When we met in Las Vegas last year, he claimed he was innocent.
“How many artists have been vampirized by an entourage, by people who have succeeded? There are many examples, she had launched. I, I am a director. An artist who wants to lend a hand to his region. So there are large offices in charge of creating structures for the management of double taxation. And this whole community, we work on all continents. And, yes, it’s a mess. But I never put money aside. This is what I wanted to tell you. I haven’t saved a dime. It is quite the opposite. I put everything I had at the disposal of the projects. All I had. “
Franco Dragone has given himself five years to prepare the next generation within his company, so that he can devote himself to his projects. “I want to end my life exclusively with the artistic. Focus solely on writing. Writing a book, acting, etc. Unfortunately, he didn’t get that far.