Glory Denied is published by E.C. Schirmer. Cover art by Pattima Singhalaka, Houston Grand Opera.


Glory Denied
The acclaimed opera by Tom Cipullo
Based on the book by Tom Philpott
For four singers (two sopranos, tenor, and baritone)
Two Acts (Act 1, 36 minutes, Act 2, 41 minutes)
Three different instrumentations available: full orchestra, 16 players, or 9 players

Glory Denied is published by, and available from, E.C. Schirmer.

For information on licensing and parts, write

The full orchestra version of Glory Denied has been recorded by the Atlanta Opera, and is available on all major streaming platforms. 

The 9-piece instrumentation of Glory Denied is available on Albany Records(Troy 1433)
performed by the Fort Worth Opera Festival  (Darren K. Woods, General Director; conducted by Tyson Deaton)
The recording was cited by Opera News in its Best Opera Recordings of the Year list (January 2014).

To view a video of the late Senator John McCain discussing Glory Denied, please click on this link:


Glory Denied (2007) is based on the true story of America’s longest-held prisoner of war.  With over 40 productions, the piece is one of the most frequently performed operas of the 21st-century.   Glory Denied has been produced by Houston Grand Opera (HGOCO), Atlanta Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Memphis, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Company of Middlebury, Opera Birmingham, Union Avenue Opera (St. Louis). Opera Idaho, Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Chelsea Opera (twice), UrbanArias (twice), Pensacola Opera, Anchorage Opera, and many other companies, and commercially recorded by Atlanta Opera and Fort Worth Opera.  Among the colleges who have produced the opera are the Thornton School of Music (University of Southern California),  the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Boston Conservatory, and Baldwin-Wallace University.

What the Critics Are Saying:

"...the true story of an American family torn apart during the unsettling era of the unpopular Vietnam War. Cipullo’s masterfully taut adaption of Tom Philpott’s book of the same name, makes a cogent impression in just seventy-five compact minutes with a score that is by turns chaotic, angular, melodic, harmonious, and even at times, serene.... a thrillingly varied score, mesmerizing libretto,..."           
James Sohre,  Opera Today   November 23, 2018    (in review of the Des Moines Metro Opera production)

"Cipullo’s music is at once complex and accessible, but always serves to illuminate the story. Biting dissonance and jagged rhythms reflect the horrors of torture, complete with percussive whips. Declamatory writing juxtaposes against soaring, lyrical arias. The compact structure, with seamless transitions between ensemble pieces and solo arias, kept the dramatic tension high throughout.  The superb cast wrung every ounce out of the raw, gut-wrenching emotions contained in the score...  a great night at the opera."   
Sherry Cheng, Texas Classical Review  November 7, 2017     (in review of the Houston Grand Opera HGOCO production)     

"It's one of the most surreal experiences Houston audiences will ever have a chance to have. Painful, exhilarating, at times far too true for comfort, Glory Denied being performed at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum Hangar right by Hobby Airport is something that's not like anything else...It won't always be comfortable to sit through, but it is memorable beyond belief." 
Margaret Downing, Houston Press     November 9, 2017    (in review of the Houston Grand Opera HGOCO production) 

"Not only is Cipullo’s score riveting, it maintains a sense of dramatic urgency from start to finish. He writes handsomely for the voice, taking care to ensure that dramatic moments make the strongest impact...  I was deeply impressed by Glory Denied, not only for its musical strengths and the strong ensemble work at the performance I attended, but because this is the kind of timely and relevant opera/musical theatre piece that folks at OPERA America could only dream about back in the days when they launched the Opera into the ‘90’s and Beyond program." 
George Heymont April 12, 2018   (in review of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music production)

"the themes and conflicts of Thompson's story constitute drama of the highest order, and Cipullo — a shrewd dramaturge as well as a compelling composer — gives magnificent expression to the tragic story...It's strong stuff, to be sure, but the piece is continuously absorbing and musically rewarding."
Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News    March 2014     (in review of the Albany compact disc)

"Time is cyclical and emotion runs high in "Glory Denied," Syracuse Opera's intimate season opener about America's longest-held prisoner of war at John H. Mulroy Civic Center. The opera, which was premiered in 2007, is staged in two tableaus of heartrending drama that forces viewers to confront the horror of Vietnam-era history...Friday's audience cheered the performance at several points and rewarded the company with a standing ovation at the end. Bravo to Syracuse Opera for presenting a contemporary work that has modest production demands but huge emotional impact." 
Linda Loomis,   November 7, 2015    (in review of the Syracuse Opera production)

"However, the highlight of the month, and perhaps of the season, was the Nashville Opera’s Veteran’s Day production of Glory Denied at the intimate Noah Liff Opera Center... masterfully performed and important—humanizing the loss and anger of this soldier who gave everything." 
Joseph E. Morgan, Nashville Arts Magazine   December 2016      (in review of the Nashville Opera production)

"Watching Opera Memphis' minimal but mighty production of Tom Cipullo's Viet Nam-era one act, Glory Denied,  is like being clobbered by angels and dumped in a freezing river of 1970's pop culture." 
Chris David, Memphis Flyer   April 10, 2015 

"searing, ...profoundly touches the heart..." 
Jon. W. Sparks,  Memphis Commercial Appeal  March 31, 2015  (in review of the Opera Memphis production)

“intimate in its presentation (minimal sets and costumes and a nine-musician ensemble) and epic in its scope and effect… From hope to despair, from love to hatred to forgiveness, the dramatic tension was relentless.”     
Willard Spiegelman, Opera News  July 2013    (in review of the Fort Worth Opera production) 
“This is no fictional dialogue…but the real, powerful emotional struggles of two flesh-and-blood human beings caught up in a drama neither one of them wanted or created…a terrifically powerful work, superbly written…”  
Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Magazine  Jan/Feb 2014    (in review of the Albany compact disc)
“Mr. Cipullo’s vocal writing is angular and declamatory at times, but he has a keen sense of when to let that modernist approach melt into glowing melody, and he has an even keener ear for orchestral color.”    
Allan Kozinn, New York Times  November 12, 2010     (in review of the Chelsea Opera production)
 “…a luminous score that offered vivid embodiments of the protagonist’s mental states.”
Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post   April 3, 2011  (in review of the UrbanArias production)
“…a powerful drama of great intensity in both music and acting.”
Olin Chism, Fort Worth Star-Telegram  April 25, 2013     (in review of the Fort Worth Opera production) 
“…a powerfully realistic thriller and an unabashedly honest commentary on the America of the 1960s and ’70s.” 
Edward Brown, Fort Worth Weekly  May 1, 2013     (in review of the Fort Worth Opera production) 
“ [an] intimate operatic masterpiece.”
Wayne Lee Gay, D Magazine April 22, 2013     (in review of the Fort Worth Opera production) 
“Dramatic is an understatement. In its operatic form, it is horrifying, riveting, involving, shocking, inspiring, overwhelming, appalling and devastating—in that order.”
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones      April 23, 2013     (in review of the Fort Worth Opera production) 
“…a work of our time…It holds its own against the greatest of the classical repertoire, while helping to redefine it at the rarer scale of chamber opera.”
H. Paul Moon, DC Arts Beat   April 4, 2011  (in review of the UrbanArias production)

Michael Mayes and David Blalock in the Fort Worth Opera Festival production of Glory Denied. (Photo copyright 2013 by Ellen Appel.)