In Review: Michael Mayes and John Hoomes bring "an embarrassment of riches" to "Glory

"For classical music fans in Nashville, the last couple of weeks have represented an embarrassment of riches with two wonderful concerts from the Nashville Symphony and a tragic, heartbreaking production of Tom Cipullo’s contemporary opera Glory Denied from the Nashville opera.... ...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. The work is a chamber opera based on an account of the life of Vietnam veteran Colonel Jim Thompson and his experience as the longest held prisoner of war in American history. John Hoomes’s production was Spartan, allowing the singers (baritone Michael Mayes, Alto Rebecca Sjöwall, tenor Eric Neuville and Soprano Emma Grimsley) to shine and shifting the dramatic conflict and spotlight to the mental and emotional aspects of Cipullo’s beautiful score. Mayes’s rendition of Thompson was remarkable. His Act Two scene 1 aria “Teflon Cookware, Men with Long Hair,” better termed a rant on the changing terms of the American Dream, was masterfully performed and important—humanizing the loss and anger of this soldier who gave everything. Maestro Dean Williamson’s chamber orchestra was marvelous, and special mention goes to Michael Samis (cello) for the beautiful obbligato line in the second act."

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