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Dracula Reviews 2013

Isthmus
How Michael Massey gave teeth to Madison Ballet's Dracula score

Interview with the vampire's composer
Jessica Steinhoff on Thursday 05/30/2013

“Filled with libidinous dancing and steampunk costumes,
Madison Ballet's Dracula was one of the most provocative works to hit local stages this year. It's also one of the most inventive, even though it's based on Bram Stoker's well-known vampire novel. Much of the production's impact stemmed from an original rock score by local composer Michael Massey. Massey will release Dracula's soundtrack on Sunday, June 2, at the High Noon Saloon, where he'll perform the score with a dream team of Madison musicians that includes Gomers Biff Blumfumgagnge and Dave Adler”.


Madison Magazine
A Rockin' Soundtrack for 'Dracula, a Rock Ballet'
by Rick Tvedt


The recent run of Dracula, A Rock Ballet at the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater was a smashing success. The critics praised it and many audience members went straight from the theater to the box office to buy tickets for subsequent performances. The rock-and-roll score was composed by Madison’s own Michael Massey, best known as the front man for Chaser in the late '70s and Boys in White in the '80s. Both those bands were very successful locally with Chaser coming oh-so-close to landing the then-coveted record deal.

Now the Dracula soundtrack, a two-disc set, is being released at the High Noon Saloon on June 2. The album can also be purchased at CD Baby, iTunes and at www.draculaarockballet.com.

The recording, which came straight off the Capitol Theater’s soundboard, is pristine and highly impressive. Each part of the seven-piece band is easily perceptible, and in most places, this music rocks very hard. As I began to listen I forgot this was a live recording until the applause after the opening “Act One Overture.” 


Local Sounds Magazine
by Rick Tvedt

The band frequently rocks out on all cylinders but there are also dramatic interludes, usually built around Blumfumgagnge’s melodic violin or minor-key piano variations. Being a ballet, this is all-instrumental fare with thematic statements weaving in and around each other, identified with the characters in the story. The compositions don’t break new stylistic ground but are a modern take on classic rock. There are lots of blazing guitar solos, some played as dual leads between the two guitarists. Adler gets his moments in the sun as well, particularly heated workouts on synthesized organ. There are lots of Zeppelin-esque riffing and Pink Floyd-like blues workouts as well. “Travelling to the Castle / Harker’s Variation” is reminiscent of a heavier-riffing Kansas while “Brides of Dracula” brought back memories of Camel’s The Snow Goose album. The theme for “Dracula’s Variation” is memorable, shifting between 15/8 time and a waltz feel. Renfield’s Variation” takes a carnival/camp turn with Adler ably imitating trombone on keys. Blumfumgange shines on “Lucy’s Nightmares” while the piano is central to the romantic “Mina and Dracula Pas de Deux.”  read the complete review


Isthmus Daily Page
by Katie Reiser

Madison Ballet presented a new full-length rock ballet, Dracula, with a very good score from Madison composer Mike Massey. …..the dancing was as sexy as the steampunk costumes.


Cultural Oyster
by Susan Kepecs


Madison’s much more metropolitan than it was a decade ago, but the city’s still got an inferiority complex about its own performing arts organizations.  You know what I mean – you walk out of the theater after a local show and you hear people say “that was pretty good, for Madison.”  It’s time for that attitude to go. From its overture to its allegros and adagios and its evocative character themes, all made to drive big, expansive dancing, Michael Massey’s Dracula score, commissioned for Madison Ballet’s eponymous new production and played live onstage by Massey's seven-man band, is a marvel of classical structure rendered in rock n’ roll.

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