The score incorporates the composer’s extensive research into the music of Ancient Rome in a Neo-Romantic framework. The work adheres to the principles of tonality but classical chord progressions are supplemented with ostinatos, pedals, timelines and thematic repetition as the unifying musical factor. Folk-like melodies and modality augment the sense of antiquity and so do the melodic and instrumental leitmotifs. A careful listener can excavate fragments of Ancient Greek hymns, including the oldest known example of music notation, the Epitaph of Seikilos.The orchestration is appropriately chosen to mimic ancient Roman instruments.

As the opera progresses and Nero’s world gradually falls apart so does the music: sweet consonance is abandoned in favor of more extreme chromaticism and polytonality until the final Liebestod-esque scene and the emperor’s tragic end.