"the orchestral writing is crisp and incisive, conjuring up with imagination the successive atmospheres required for the tragedy’s trajectory."
The Guardian - George Hall
"elegantly creepy, defiantly cool"
"so often, Shakespeare’s words can rush away rapidly from us on stage, but here, both projected and sung with deliberate clarity, every word shines and works its magic."
"Styles’ music swirls, hums, and draws us inexorably into the dark heart of power."
Bachtrack - Charlotte Valori
"The music is scored for chamber orchestra, with evocative use of percussion and piano, and although it is pared down to the most emotionally sparse lines it still has moments of surprising lyric grace"
music OMH - Melanie Eskenazi
“A taut, stripped-down operatic version of Shakespeare's tragedy”
“Shakespeare's text, sensitively set by former Glyndebourne young resident composer Styles in his distinctive and atmospheric score”
"the opera has much going for it, not least the superb contribution of the 12-strong band (members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra)”
“Duncan’s “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction”, scored for trumpet, trombone, cello and bass, is eloquently introspective and the chamber ensemble oscillates fluently between reflective and martial modes.”
The Evening Standard
Unborn In America
“… with visceral growls from its four excellent instrumentalists.”
The Financial Times – Hannah Nepil
“it’s more like a double length episode of South Park, but done as contemporary opera”
“Unborn... (and Islands) seem to have sprung from no discernible
“The music element is pretty special. Styles is clearly a gifted composer
in the modern opera idiom.”
“… clearly made with great care and a ridiculous amount of talent.”
“I’d be a shit not to record that this opening night was met by a largely
rapturous response from a sell-out audience in what turns out to be a
pretty big auditorium for avant garde chamber opera,”
Postcard from the Gods – Andrew Haydon
“Unborn In America is brave in its scope and takes a chance. Librettist / director Peter Cant and composer / conductor Luke Styles don’t short change their audience and present a show that is gutsy and pinged with political rhetoric without being preachy.”
“There is a wildness to this unusual piece that is as interesting as it is ridiculously funny.”
“The fact that this was made, was workshopped, and did premiere at such a fitting festival is something we must always celebrate. Theatre must continue to be nonconformist and willing to take risks, be controversial and most of all challenge their audiences.”
The New Current - Jello Biafra
“…the little band under composer-conductor Luke Styles’s direction reinforces the impression, establishing an anarchic tone in which the influences of Alban Berg and Kurt Weill fuse merrily.”
The Independent – Michael Church
“…an assault by a confident agitprop theatre company…”
TimeOut – Jonathan Lennie
“Styles’ sparse, percussive score throbs with tribal-like rhythms, acute snare drum hammering and melodies which scurry all over the place.”
“This is opera at its most provocative.”
Fringe Opera - Francesca Wickers
“The bluesy type cabaret music composed by Luke Styles, coupled with an intentionally gimmicky libretto by director Peter Cant [minus the violence, the referrentialism is entirely Quentin Tarantino] provides a conflict between a nostalgia for a Kurt Weillian epoch whose artistic works served a socially useful purpose, with a more brazen, infantile and yet depraved world Ziggy eventually finds herself in.”
Theatre Bubble - Verity Healey
"Glyndebourne’s Young Composer in Residence has filled twenty concentrated minutes with some terrifically exciting melodic and harmonic ideas, all executed with the assurance of a mature musical mind; small wonder that Glyndebourne has placed such faith in this prodigious Australian who, for all his gifts, still wears youth’s proud livery."
“Styles embroiders the verse like an illuminated tapestry in sound as crunching harmonies diverge to an apparently impossible degree and then reconvene for a coda of hushed unity.”
Classical Source - Mark Valencia
“It’s an ambitious undertaking to set these sonnets, and not one which all that many have tried; they are amongst the greatest poems ever written, and it is a measure of this young man’s talent as a composer that not only did he enable us to view them in a new light, but he did so in music of the deepest respect and love, never once trivializing or attempting to ‘modernise’ the complex emotions which they contain.”
“The music is rich, dense in texture, eminently ‘singable’ and structured around the drama inherent in each poem.”
musicOMH – Melanie Eskenazi