The Little Opera Company is looking to make a big splash with their latest production: the Canadian premiere of Jonathan Dove’s The Walk from the Garden

A poignant and pertinent allegorical Adam and Eve tale, the work explores climate change, and the impact humans are having on our planet.  

“It is the actual moment when Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden,” says director Rob Herriot. “Out of Eden. Out of perfection, out of harmony, out of everything they knew to be normal and nurturing.” 

As the story unfolds, they ultimately realize they cannot return to where they were, explains Herriot, which serves as a keen metaphor for our own relationship with the planet.  

“It shows the emotional impact, the psychological impact on their own harmony and how that’s affecting us globally.”  



The roughly 50-minute “church opera” is scored for two soloists – Adam, sung by tenor Nolan Kehler, and Eve, sung by Sara Schabas – and chorus (Prairie Voices), plus string quartet, percussion and organ.  

Structurally, the work unfolds over 12 scenes, opening and closing with the chorus – who first sing the word of God and then a text from John Milton’s Paradise Lost – with Adam and Eve’s journey in between.  

Interestingly, the string quartet always performs with the soloists, whereas the organ and timpani accompany the choir, points out music director Armand Birk.  

“They don’t intersect,” he says. “Even though it’s all part of the same world, the organ and the timpani are very grounded forces, huge sounds... it’s as if that is still a part of Eden. That is something where Adam and Eve wish they could go back to, but they can’t."  

An RBC Emerging Conductor with the WSO and former Tanglewood Fellow, Birk makes his music director debut in this production.  
“It’s quite a special endeavor to be doing a Canadian premiere,” says Birk. “In something that is just so monumental yet so small, it’s really a treasure to be able to do that.”  

The Walk from the Garden takes place at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral from March 22-24, 2024.  

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