Glory Denied

Opera in Two Acts
Music by Tom Cipullo
Libretto by Tom Cipullo
Based on the book by Tom Philpott

Performed in English with English subtitles
Premiered at Brooklyn College Opera Theater on May 5, 2007
August 16, 17, 23 & 24 at 8:00pm

FREE General Admission Tickets for Veterans
$15 General Admission Ticket for Active Military

** Union Avenue Opera recognizes that the content of Glory Denied is of a sensitive nature to many people. Our board certified music therapist will be available during all performances of Glory Denied at Union Avenue Opera **


Glory Denied has four singing roles. Jim and Alyce Thompson are each played by two singers. Thus, young Alyce presents the character as Jim remembers her from letters written long ago. Older Alyce is the person she has become since his capture. Likewise, the older Jim reflects back on his imprisonment while the younger represents his character during the ordeal. On occasion, the singers may assume the voices of other figures as well (i.e., Pentagon spokesman, Army General, Vietnamese guard, etc.)

Act I – In Captivity

Colonel Floyd James Thompson (Jim), America’s longest-held prisoner of war, looks back on his years as a captive. He sees himself as a young man and recalls episodes from his nine-year ordeal; escape attempts, torture, the overwhelming loneliness of four years in solitary confinement, being forced to sign a propaganda statement. Through it all, he finds the strength to survive in memories of his wife and family. He recalls every letter his beloved Alyce sent to him before his capture.

As Thompson thinks on his idealized wife, Alyce receives the news that his surveillance plane has been shot down. Filled with fear and bitterness, she soon begins a relationship with another man (Harold), eventually moving in with him and telling the children that their father has died. Alyce denies permission for Jim’s name to be released to the public, not even for one of the P.O.W. bracelets that were common at the time. She consults a lawyer in an effort to have him declared legally dead.

As the act nears its conclusion, Thompson finds comfort in the 23rd Psalm as themes from the opera swirl around him. On his last word, “forever,” he is freed from prison, and a reunion with Alyce, inevitable and tragic, awaits.

Act II – Welcome Home

The P.O.W.s are released and Jim returns home. The Pentagon announces another man, a Navy pilot, as the longest-held prisoner. Excerpts from the Paris Peace Accords interrupt the pre-war memories of Jim and Alyce. Jim reads a letter of welcome from President Nixon, the text noting ominously that “Some things about America may appear to have changed since your departure.” Alyce meets Jim and confesses. She offers to disappear if that is what he wants, but only after he hears her out. Jim decides to attempt a reconciliation. He notes how the nation has become different during his ordeal, at first mentioning improvements in material items and civil rights, but inevitably concluding with disdain for the new permissiveness and for his wife’s infidelity. Soon, the couple begins to fight, and Jim complains, “You’re not the Alyce I left.” For her part, Alyce asserts her independence, refusing to be the docile obeying wife. She tells of what her life was like during his absence, of the callous behavior of neighbors and family, of late-night crank calls from malicious strangers, of her fear and loneliness. Jim visits the church where he and Alyce were married. He speaks to the congregation hopefully, ignoring the fact that his dream of home and family has been shattered.

In conjunction with our production of Glory Denied, Union Avenue Opera will engage veterans and the community through a series of outreach events thanks to a grant from the PNC Foundation through PNC Arts Alive, a multi-year initiative dedicated to supporting visual and performing arts.

At the opera, UAO will be offering free General Admission tickets for Veterans and a $15 General Admission ticket for active military. In addition to our Know Before You Go Friday night lecture series UAO will hold a talk-back session following each of the opera’s performances.

Glory Denied Preview Concert on August 9 at 3:00pm
Soldiers Memorial Military Museum | 1315 Chestnut Street | 63103
FREE for Veterans and Active Military

Enjoy a special preview of Glory Denied, Tom Cipullo’s Acclaimed opera based on the true story of America’s Longest-Held Prisoner of war in the JCT Assembly Hall at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum on August 9 at 3:00pm. Tickets are FREE for veterans and active military. All other tickets are $10 per person and $5 for MHS Members. Reservations encouraged. Order online at

Glory Denied Panel Discussion on August 13 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Soldiers Memorial Military Museum | 1315 Chestnut Street | 63103
FREE and open to the public

Host Ruth Ezell moderates an intimate panel discussion with insights on the opera Glory Denied, the Vietnam War and the POW Experiences in the JCT Assembly Hall at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum. Panelists include United States Marine Corps Sergeant Rodney “Rocky” Sickmann (POW, Iranian Hostage Crisis) and Glory Denied director Dean Anthony. This is a free event and open to the public. No reservations needed.

Production Staff

Conductor Scott Schoonover
Director Dean Anthony*
Scenic Designer Rodger Speidel
Costume Designer Teresa Doggett
Lighting Designer Joe Clapper
Technical Director Theatre Marine Productions


Older Thompson Peter Kendall Clark*
Younger Thompson David Walton
Older Alyce Gina Galati
Younger Alyce Karina Brazas
Produced by permission of ECS Publishing Group, St. Louis, MO
Sole Agent for E.C. Schirmer Music Company, Publisher and Copyright Owner
*UAO Debut