An Unwelcome War Hero

What happens when you come home from war and nothing is the same? Pittsburgh Opera continues its 2018-2019 season with Tom Cipullo’s opera Glory Denied. Based on a book by Tom Philpott, the performances mark the Pittsburgh premiere of the opera and feature the resident artists of Pittsburgh Opera’s training program for young singers.

The opera tells the story of Colonel Jim Thompson, the longest-held prisoner of war in U.S. Military history. After suffering for nine years in captivity in Vietnam, Jim longs to return home to his wife Alyce and their children. Memories of them kept him alive. When he arrives home, those memories are shattered by a wife who thought he was dead and has moved on without him. Pairs of singers portray young and old versions of Jim and Alyce as we watch their family tragedy unfold.

To learn more about this opera, check out this co-production of WSKG and Tri-Cities Opera that aired on PBS as a behind the scenes look of TCO’s 2017 production of Glory Denied. The program includes rehearsal footage and interviews with the cast, crew and composer.

Continue your exploration through these recommendations from our collection. I encourage you to go and see this opera, an artistic work that may challenge your views about this time in American history and the unpopular war that affected so many families.

Glory Denied

This live recording captures the 2013 production at the Fort Worth Opera Festival. The cast features David Blalock and Michael Mayes as Young and Old Jim with Sidney Mancasola and Caroline Worra as Young and Old Alyce.