Cinematically themed mega-resort Studio City isn’t content to bring the metaphorical magic of Hollywood to Macau; instead, the US$3.2 billion development showcases actual magic.
Entertainment is very much at the heart of Studio City, and perhaps the most eye-catching among its many leisure and cultural options is Franz Harary’s House of Magic. The four-storey, US$40 million venue, purpose-built specifically for magic by world-famous US illusionist Franz Harary, holds the record for the largest magical effect in the world. It took over two years to build it, says Harary—but the idea has been gestating for a lot longer.
“The House of Magic took more than a quarter of my life to create. I’ve been working on this for decades,” with previous versions taking the form of a theme park, a dinner theatre and an interactive virtual-reality experience. “It’s my ultimate fantasy.”
The House of Magic features four different theatres: the Mega Magic Theatre, created specifically to showcase Harary’s own illusions; The Illusion Laboratory, where visitors can interact with magical toys (“Imagine walking into Willy Wonka’s workshop and discovering his creations under construction,” says Harary); the Majestic, designed in classical French style; and enchanted fantasy environment
One of the world’s most widely known and admired illusionists, Harary’s signature trick involves making really large objects appear to disappear or move. But he’s also a noted designer of illusions for other magicians whose tricks are used almost everywhere there’s magic.
“The House of Magic at Studio City allows me a unique opportunity, one that has never been possible until today,” says Harary. “From my work as a touring illusionist, I have developed formulas that allow me to create very large-scale illusions for stadium crowds. Despite their size, I discovered these massive magical effects are even more powerful up close and personal. In designing the House of Magic, I specifically set out to create a venue that would allow audiences to see my most spectacular high-end illusions right up close and under their noses. This has never been done before.
“These effects include getting burned alive, teleported and levitated. Most importantly, the entire show is designed with a single philosophy: the magic happens to and by the audience. Audience members themselves will levitate and float in space, disappear, reappear: you name it.”
Famously discovered by Michael Jackson at the age of 20, Harary has performed all over the world, to more people than any other magician in history, and is particularly popular in Asia.
“Macau is one of the most incredible places on the planet,” says Harary. “China invented theatrical magic about 5,000 years ago. As an illusion designer, there was a great deal of pressure on me knowing that I was bringing magic back to the part of the planet where it all began.
“Asian audiences are unique,” he adds. “Magic holds a special place in not only China, but the entire area. It’s in the culture. When you add to this the fact that in the past few decades, there has been more technology showcased in this part of the world than anywhere else, it creates a unique dichotomy. Audiences here want to believe in magic. They want to believe that there is something more out there. At the same time, they are being told every day that anything is possible via science and technology.”
In addition to Harary’s mind-bending magic, the venue boasts an impressive rotating resumé of the most talented magicians from around the world, such as Australian Simon Coronel, a three-time International Federation of Magic Societies award-winning magician and close-up magic prodigy known as “The Illusionist”; Avala, a living legend in Mexico who’s won many awards including Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts and Entertainer of the Year by the International Magicians Society; and Arkadio, an illusionist from Spain who received the prestigious Baguette D’Or, first place honours in the Monte Carlo Magic Stars competition—from the Prince of Monaco himself.
Something that ought to be impossible, made real by technology, creativity and sheer hard work: the House of Magic is the perfect symbol for Studio City as a whole.
Level 2, Studio City, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai
+853 8868 6767, studiocity-macau.com