by Sicily Xiao
Based on the book by Tom Philpott, Tom Cipullo’s two-act, 80-minute chamber opera Glory Denied tells the true story of Jim Thompson, the longest-held prisoner of war in U.S. military history, as he tries to re-assimilate into American life after spending nine years behind enemy lines in Vietnam.
What keeps Jim going is his loyalty to his country and the memory of his beloved wife, Alyce, and their children. At the same time, without any message from her husband, Alyce needs to find a new life for herself and her children, eventually moving to Massachusetts with another man.
After Colonel Thompson was released, his status as the longest-held POW was ignored, costing him the acclaim he deserved. When he finally returns to the United States, he is faced with the reality that the country has changed during his years of imprisonment in ways that are too much for him to adapt to.