Opera Idaho’s ‘Glory Denied’; Ballet Idaho’s next season

Composer Tom Cipullo’s opera “Glory Denied” tells an American story about the longest held prisoner in U.S. history, Col. Floyd James Thompson.
Composer Tom Cipullo’s opera “Glory Denied” tells an American story about the longest held prisoner in U.S. history, Col. Floyd James Thompson.

Opera Idaho will end its season with a production of “Glory Denied,” an opera by American composer Tom Cipullo, based on Tom Philpott’s novel about America’s longest-held prisoner of war, Col. Floyd James Thompson.

Thompson was captured during the Vietnam War in 1964 and was held just 10 days short of nine years.

Thompson’s story is filled with tension, conflict, heartbreak and frustration on a truly operatic scale. When his pregnant wife, Allyson, was told of his capture, the shock sent her into labor and their fourth child was born that night.

Cipullo was drawn to the story because as in all the best stories, “No one is all good; and no one is all bad,” he says, from his home in New York.

Opera Idaho will step out of its usual venue at The Egyptian Theatre into an airplane hangar at Aviation Specialties Unlimited near the Boise Airport for the performances.

Thompson’s story lives within the rapidly changing world of the 1970s, filled with political turmoil and social ambiguity and conflict, and changing ideals. The world Thompson left was not the one he returned to.

“When I was coming of age, the Vietnam war was so prescient,” Cipullo says. “It’s hard for younger people today to understand how much the country changed from 1964 to 1972.”

Cipullo illustrates the dynamics of that span by casting younger and older versions of his characters — Thompson and Allyson — who interact throughout the opera. New York tenor Brandon Snook and baritone Gregory Gerbrandt play Thompson. Sopranos Ashly Neumann and Rebecca Sjöwall portray Allyson.

Cipullo’s score blends modernist composition with rich melodic construction that creates emotional moments for his characters to interact as an ensemble and in solos.

“The musical language is a bit schizophrenic, but I hope it reflects the characters and it seems appropriate to the story,” Cipullo says.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, to Saturday, April 30, Aviation Specialties Unlimited, 4632 W. Aeronca St., Boise. $24-$48 general, $22-$44 seniors, $18-$35 students and children.

Ballet Idaho 2016-’17 season

Ballet Idaho will present Los Angeles-based repertory company BodyTraffic, and collaborate with Boise musicians for its Winter Repertory that includes a new ballet by Daniel Ojeda. In April 2017, it will produce Artistic Director Peter Anastos’ full-length “Peter Pan.”

▪  “NewDance, Up Close”: 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, and Friday, Nov. 11, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13. Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy Annex, 501 S. 8th St., Boise.

▪  “The Nutcracker”: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. Morrison Center, 2201 W. Cesar Chavez Drive, Boise.

▪  BodyTraffic: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, Morrison Center.

▪  “Winter Repertory”: 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11. Morrison Center.

▪  “NewDance, Up Close”: 8 p.m. Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18, 4 p.m. Sunday, March 19. Esther Simplott Academy Annex.

▪  “Peter Pan”: 8 p.m. Friday, April 21, 2 and 8 p.m. April 22. Morrison Center.

Season tickets: $147-$250 (VIP parking pass: $60) at 343.0556, ext. 222 and