Tom Cipullo • February 23, 26, March 1, 3, 2019
Based on a book by Tom Philpott, Glory Denied tells the true story of Colonel Jim Thompson, America’s longest-held prisoner of war. The opera deals not only with Thompson’s suffering in the jungle of southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, but also the tragic aftermath that followed his liberation.
Colonel Thompson endured his brutal captivity by doggedly clinging to memories of his loving wife Alyce and their children. Alyce, however, believed Jim was dead. She and her children moved to Massachusetts with another man, leading to a painful reunion after Jim’s release.
Glory Denied is, above all, the story of an American family during one our nation’s most turbulent eras. In its review of Mr. Philpott’s book, The New York Times stated:
Indeed it is not too much to say that Glory Denied and Colonel Thompson’s mixed feelings about it encapsulate something of the moral essence of the Vietnam War and the imperishable bitterness of its legacy.
Glory Denied will star Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists, and be performed in the intimate environs of Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters. Limited capacity - order now!
"Glory Denied as a whole is in keeping with Pittsburgh Opera’s past record of presenting contemporary works by gifted and impressive Resident Artists. The company deserves praise for consistently offering opportunities to hear rarities delivered by strong, young talent, and patronage is the only reward commensurate with its efforts...the work deserves full houses for all." - Pittsburgh in the Round
The Artistic Team
Composer - Tom Cipullo
Conductor - James Lesniak
Stage Director - *Matthew Haney
Set Designer - Jiahui Shi
Costume Designer - Jason Bray
Lighting Designer - Todd Nonn
Stage Manager - Alex W. Seidel
Prop Master - Johnmichael Bohach
Sets & Costumes created by Pittsburgh Opera
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
Act I. Captain Thompson (Jim), America’s longest-held prisoner of war, recalls episodes of his nine-year ordeal which include escape attempts, torture, the overwhelming loneliness of five years in solitary confinement, and being forced to sign a propaganda statement. He finds the strength to survive in memories of his family, letters from his wife Alyce about their home and children, and thoughts of his elaborate plans to build his dream house.
Pregnant with their fourth child and only son, Alyce receives the news that Jim’s plane has been shot down. Denied any reliable information about his status or whereabouts, she soon begins a relationship with another man (Harold), eventually moving with him to Massachusetts and telling her children that their father is dead. Alyce refuses to have Jim’s name released to the public as Missing in Action, or inscribed on a P.O.W. bracelet, a popular solidarity symbol at the time, and consults a lawyer in an effort to have her husband legally declared dead. Thompson, in captivity, finds comfort in the 23rd Psalm.
Act II. A number of American P.O.W.s are released and Jim returns home, but the Pentagon honors another man, Everett Alvarez, as the longest-held prisoner. With the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, Jim receives a letter welcoming him back from President Richard Nixon, and suggesting that “some things about America may appear to have changed” since his departure. Alyce greets Jim’s homecoming and confesses her new relationship. She offers to go away if that is what he prefers, but Jim wants to reconcile. He notes how life has changed during his nine year captivity and soon the couple begins to fight with Jim complaining that Alyce is not the wife he left behind. Alyce asserts her independence and describes what her life has been like during his absence. Jim, considered a local hero, is asked to give a sermon at the church where he and Alyce were married, and recalls his idealized family life. But Alyce has moved on.
The years pass and Jim, having suffered a stroke, lives alone, estranged from his family, struggling with all that has occurred.
-From Anchorage Opera
Older Alyce (Caitlin Gotimer) begins to tell her husband (Older Thompson/Ben Taylor) about decisions she made while he was held captive as a POW in Vietnam for nine years.
A disillusioned Older Thompson (Ben Taylor) recites a litany of ways that America has changed during his nine years as a Prisoner Of War in Vietnam.
Older Thompson (Ben Taylor) recalls how he passed the time during his captivity (Younger Thompson/Terrence Chin Loy) by imagining the dream house he would build upon his release and return home to his wife Younger Alyce (Ashley Fabian).
Older Thompson (Ben Taylor) returns to his boyhood church following his nine years as a Prisoner Of War in Vietnam.
Younger Thompson (Terrence Chin-Loy) recalls happy days with his wife Younger Alyce (Ashley Fabian) before the realities of his imprisonment as a Prisoner of War intrude.
Older Alyce (Caitlin Gotimer) acknowledges that her husband went through hell during his nine years as a Prisoner Of War in the Vietnam War, while pointing out that things weren’t easy on her during that time either.
Younger Alyce (Ashley Fabian) reads a letter she wrote to her husband Jim while he was stationed in Vietnam.
- OperaWire: Pittsburgh Opera To Premiere ‘Glory Denied’
- Entertainment Central Pittsburgh: February Theater Guide
- Hoodline: Best Music Events in Pittsburgh This Week
- The Almanac: What's Happening: Week of February 17
- Pittsburgh Current: The Chill Issue: 100 Suggestions To Keep You Busy In Pittsburgh This Winter
- The Urban Twist: Q&A: Watch, Listen, and Empathize with Ben Taylor’s Performance in ‘Glory Denied’
- Pittsburgh In The Round: Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artist Caitlin Gotimer on Upcoming Production of “Glory Denied”
- NEXTpittsburgh: Top events in Pittsburgh this weekend
- Trib Live: Preview - Pittsburgh Opera’s ‘Glory Denied’ tells POW’s story
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Behind the Curtain, Feb. 19, 2019 - Critic's Choice
- Beaver County Times: 3 more entertainment ideas: Enjoy a jazzy night in Beaver, a moving opera or a flight with the birds
- WQED-FM Voice of the Arts podcasts interviews:
- Trib Live: Entertainment planner: Feb. 21-March 6
- Hoodline: The best performing and visual arts events in Pittsburgh this week
- 90.5 WESA-FM, Pittsburgh's NPR station: Opera Recounts Struggles Of Longest-Held POW And His Family
- Broadway World: Photo Flash: GLORY DENIED at Pittsburgh Opera
- OperaWire: Top 5 Operas To See This Weekend – North America (2/22-24)
- Pittsburgh in the Round: Pittsburgh Opera's Premiere of Glory Denied
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Phantom of the Opera vs. Pittsburgh Opera
- Entertainment Central Pittsburgh: March Theater Guide
- Entertainment Central Pittsburgh: Cool Picks
- Run time: 1 hour and 18 minutes with no intermission
- Understand Every Word: Glory Denied is sung in English, and has English supertitles projected above the stage at all performances
- Parking Downtown: get real-time parking availability
- Audio Description available at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
- Braille Programs available at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
- Large-Print Programs available at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters