Glory Denied
PREMIERE5/5/2007 — Brooklyn College Opera Theater
COMPOSERTom Cipullo   
LIBRETTISTSTom Cipullo   Tom Philpott   

Cipullo’s chamber opera Glory Denied has met with considerable success and garnered critical acclaim. The opera, based on the oral history by journalist Tom Philpott, tells the true story of Colonel Jim Thompson, an American soldier held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1964-73. The story deals not only with Thompson’s suffering in the jungles of southeast Asia, but also chronicles the personal struggles that followed his liberation and repatriation. In short, Glory Denied is the story of an American family during one of the nation’s most turbulent eras. Richard Bernstein, in reviewing Philpott’s book for the New York Times, stated, “Indeed it is not too much to say that Glory Denied… encapsulate[s] something of the moral essence of the Vietnam War and the imperishable bitterness of its legacy.” Some of the opera's success is no doubt due to the resonance audiences have found with the subject matter. As Allan Kozinn of the New York Times neatly summed up, “How is this for a story with operatic potential? A prisoner of war held for nearly a decade returns home to find that his wife has moved on, his nation has changed beyond recognition, and he is unable to find his bearings in the society he fought to defend. It is Monteverdi’s “Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria” in reverse: the story of the returning warrior, but in this thoroughly modern version, everything has gone wrong, and redemption is out of reach.” Glory Denied is written for a cast of four (two sopranos, a tenor, and a baritone) and the score exists in three different orchestrations, from nine players to full orchestra. The work was recorded live by Fort Worth Opera and released on Albany Records in August of 2013 (Troy 1433). Critical reaction to the opera has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

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This work ranks as the #14 most produced North American title since 2000.

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