a new chamber opera by Luke Styles and Benjamin Britten

The world premiere of a dramatic new chamber opera fusing original scenes by operatic composer Luke Styles with Benjamin Britten’s revered Canticles. Themes of light and darkness emerge in the music as it illuminates the highly dramatic subject matter – religious faith, sacrifice, birth, death and humanity itself. Brought to the stage by director Richard Williams and with an outstanding young cast, Styles’ use of biblical texts and others by Byron and Shelley extend Britten’s themes still further, bringing a sense of ritual and providing a pathway towards a humanist outlook on the world. 

Luke Styles was the first Glyndebourne Young Composer-in-Residence and the first Composer-in-residence at the Foundling Museum since Handel.

Luke’s operas have been performed on the famous Glyndebourne main stage and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductors such as Vladimir Jurowski.

Luke has recently completed his first Australian opera Ned Kelly which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2019 Perth Festival. Most recently Luke’s song cycle On Bunyah, written for Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia, setting poetry by Les Murray, premiered at the Wigmore Hall, London followed by the Australian premiere at the Coriole Music Festival, Adelaide – 'Styles’s On Bunyah is magnificent and just like the poem is raw, not polite. – The Australian.

Luke is currently working on a new Oboe Concerto for chamber orchestras in Australia, the UK, Germany and Spain as well as new dance works for performance in Finland, operas in the UK and USA and orchestral works for Australian and British orchestras.

Nova Music Opera
Richard Williams director
George Vass conductor

Donna Lennard soprano | Ralph Thomas Williams countertenor
Christopher Bowen and Bradley Smith tenor | Felix Kemp baritone

Nova Music Ensemble
Sophie Mather violin | Alexei Watkins horn | Rachel Wick harp | Timothy End piano

Awakening Shadow is a co-commission from the Chektenham and Presteigne festivals and a co-production between the Nova Music Trust and the Cheltenham and Presteigne festivals.


Previous Nova Music Opera productions



Sunday 4 July 2021 at 7pm
Cheltenham Music Festival

Parabola Arts Centre
Parabola Road
GL50 3AA


Tickets: £24, £18,
£10 (restricted)
from the Box Office
Cheltenham Music Festival
01242 850 270
or online from 14 June 2021

Thursday 26 August 2021
at 6pm and 8.30pm
Presteigne Festival

St Andrew's Church


Tickets: £32 (Premium),
£20 (restricted), £10 (student) 
from the Box Office
Presteigne Festival
01544 267 800
or online from 8 June 2021



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