Composer: Tom Cipullo
Written by Tom Cipullo, based on the book by Tom Philpott.
Based on a book of the same name with a foreword by Senator John McCain, this opera takes place during the Vietnam War and is based on the moving, true story of Colonel Jim Thompson, America’s longest-serving Prisoner of War (1964–1973), the torment faced by his family, and a nation divided during the Vietnam era. After being held prisoner for nearly a decade, Thompson returns home to find a wife that has moved on, a son he has never met, a nation that has all but forgotten him, and a USA that he barely recognizes, as he strains to find direction in a country that he battled to protect. Duration: ~ 78 minutes
Chamber Ensemble: Flute, Clarinet in B-flat, Horn in F, Percussion, Harp, Piano, Violin, Viola, Violoncello
Orchestra: 1 0 1 2 – 1 1 1 0 – Tmp+1 – hp, pf – str*
*The orchestra version may be performed by a chamber orchestra with single strings or by a full orchestra with larger string forces.
"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
"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
"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
"…a luminous score that offered vivid embodiments of the protagonist’s mental states." - Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post April 3, 2011
"…a powerful drama of great intensity in both music and acting." - Olin Chism, Fort Worth Star-Telegram April 25, 2013
"…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
"[an] intimate operatic masterpiece." - Wayne Lee Gay, D Magazine April 22, 2013
"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
"…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