Photography by Malcolm Johnson. www.malcijphotography.co.uk
AMY'S LAST DIVE
From the biography Amy Johnson: Queen of the Air, by Midge Gillies.
Composer: Cheryl Frances- Hoad.
Librettist and Producer: Adam Strickson
A Wingbeats performance, Leeds and Bridlington, 2012.
New Production for the Amy Johnson Festival 2016 at Hull Truck Theatre
Amy Johnson, the girl from Hull, flew around the world and made history. In 1958, the 'Amy Johnson Collection' was presented by her father to Sewerby Hall, Bridlington. This inspired Amy’s Last Dive, especially the pigskin bag which survived her fatal crash into the Thames Estuary in 1941. The opera explores what it would be like for a young woman today to meet her, and the place of love and solo flight in Amy’s life.
In the section here, a bandaged man slowly rises from an old rowing boat; it is Jim Mollison, Amy’s husband, looking as he
did in hospital after they crashed near Connecticut on their dual flight across the Atlantic in 1933. Amy and Jim play out their tempestuous relationship and this flight. They crash, thanks to Jim’s insistence on a final push to New York without sufficient fuel. Amy resolves to ‘fly solo forever’.
The opera follows the structure of a Japanese Nō play, in which it is typical for someone in the present to meet a ghost who recounts the emotional story of their life on earth.
The full libretto and a DVD of the performance are included in the book Wingbeats, which you can buy at Valley Press.