“ADAM! Cursed is the ground for thy sake” sang the combined city’s Festival Chorus and Community Choir as the Voice of Lord God, accompanied by loud organ and pounding timpani.
This was a powerful start to The Walk from the Garden. Adam and Eve appeared through EXIT doors into “perpetual banishment”.
Wearing their underwear “the sinful pair” were confronted with a monochrome graveyard of 31 discarded fridges (a subtle reference to mankind’s penchant for unsustainable living).
Eve (Anna Dennis) and Adam (Nicholas Sharratt) both expressively sang and acted the utterly devastating realisation that nothing can ever be the same again.
The duet in which the pair recall the loveliness of the Garden of Eden was especially effective; but “We messed it all up,” they sang.
Alasdair Middleton’s powerful libretto is the latest addition to previous expositions on the theme of man’s fall by Milton, Dante and others.
Appropriately, Jonathan Dove has composed a number of agonisingly slow descending spirals in a minor key to portray a desolate musical landscape; the Dante String Quartet capitalised on the cathedral’s resonant acoustics.
Congratulations also to Ben Wright for directing a moving piece and to conductor Howard Moody.
This is a lament of irrevocable loss, but not all is gloom and doom.
As the chorus (in a darkening cathedral) sang words from the close of Milton’s Paradise Lost “They, hand in hand with wandering steps and slow”, Adam and Eve slowly made their way to the now-opened west doors, with a glimpse of greenery in the dusk beyond; a faint glimmer of hope?