Indianola, IA — After a sold-out run of the rock-infused opera Soldier Songs in 2017, Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) is set to present the second installment of a unique collaboration with the Iowa National Guard and Camp Dodge this November. DMMO opens its 47th Season this fall with a production of Tom Cipullo’s poignant and emotionally charged opera Glory Denied for three performances running November 16-18. As part of Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2nd Stages Series, an initiative committed to creating collaborative performances designed to engage audiences in creative spaces, Glory Denied will be fully produced in the Freedom Center at Camp Dodge with performances on November 16 and 17 at 7:30pm and November 18 at 2:00pm.

The deployment hall will be converted into a theatrical playing space utilizing full scenery, lights and costumes with Camp Dodge and Iowa National Guard personnel consulting on the design elements, adding a unique level of authenticity to the production. Each performance will be followed by a curated talk-back session featuring reflections from Iowa combat veterans and active service members alongside the cast and creative team. Composer Tom Cipullo will be in residence during the performances. "The Iowa National Guard is committed to developing long lasting relationships with the communities in which we serve. We're excited once again to host the Des Moines Metro Opera's performance of Glory Denied, an opera about America's longest-held Prisoner of War,” said Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Mills. “This is a great opportunity for our Soldiers and Airmen to invite our community to Camp Dodge and share an event focused on the arts."

Composed in 2006, Glory Denied is a powerful and engaging opera that details the true story of Colonel Jim Thompson and the nine years he was held captive as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Reviewers have hailed the work as “terrifically powerful…superbly written” (Fanfare), praised its “luminous score” (Washington Post), and noted that “the dramatic tension was relentless” (Opera News). “The need to sing our stories to one another has been present throughout human history. What we ask our soldiers to do and how we receive them when they return home has been a perennial theme of these sung stories.” said Michael Egel, General and Artistic Director of Des Moines Metro Opera. “Continuing this collaboration with the Iowa Army National Guard, which began with Soldier Songs in 2017, has created an unexpected partnership that disrupts expectations about how artists create and audiences experience live performing arts.”

Glory Denied stars baritone Michael Mayes, who made his DMMO debut in 2010 was last seen in 2017 as the everyman soldier in Soldier Songs, as Colonel Jim Thompson, soprano Emma Grimsley as Younger Alice and John Riesen as Younger Thompson. The opera will be directed by Kristine McIntyre, whose recent projects at DMMO include Flight (2018), As One (2017), Billy Budd (2017), Soldier Songs (2017) and Manon (2016), and conducted by Joshua Horsch. This production will feature scenic design by Adam Crinson and costume design by Heather Lesieur.

Tickets for Glory Denied are $45 and can be purchased online at or by calling our box office at 515-961-6221. Patrons have the opportunity to donate a ticket to a veteran by calling the DMMO Box Office. As with all 2nd Stages Series performances in alternative venues, seating capacity is limited. The opera will be performed in English. Photo IDs (a driver’s license is an accepted form of identification) will be required for admittance to the Camp. The final preview rehearsal on Thursday, November 15, generously sponsored by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, will be offered as a free performance to all Iowa veterans of combat and active service members.

If you would like more information about this event, please contact Scott Arens at 515-961-6221 or sarens@dmmo.orgArtist headshots and imagery for the production can be found by clicking the dropbox link below:


Michael Mayes, Jim Thompson

With a “powerful” voice and an “arresting stage presence”, baritone Michael Mayes enjoys a busy operatic career in both traditional and contemporary operatic roles with theaters throughout the United States and Europe. He is well known for his critically acclaimed portrayal of Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with multiple US theaters including Washington National Opera and made his debut in that same role with Teatro Real and the Barbican. Of his De Rocher, Opera News hailed “Michael Mayes, in his sixth production of the opera, embodied the conflicted character of Joseph De Rocher with an almost eerie intensity. . . this was a consummate performance, powerfully sung and acted”. Other Jake Heggie operas Mayes has performed include Manfred in Out of the Darkness with Music of Remembrance, Charlie in Three Decembers with UrbanArias, and the world premiere of Great Scott with Dallas Opera and San Diego Opera. Mr. Mayes is known for his portrayals in other contemporary operas including Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Nashville Opera, Opera Memphis, and Fort Worth Opera, Lawrence in The Wreckers with Bard SummerScape, Adam in The Canticle of the Black Madonna with Anima Mundi Productions, Kinesias in Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata with Fort Worth Opera, Adam in Baden-Baden 1927 with Gotham Chamber Opera, and Edward Gaines in Margaret Garner opposite mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Opera Carolina.

Mr. Mayes moved into more dramatic repertoire in the 2017-2018 season, including Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Central City Opera. Additionally, he joined Teatro Real in Madrid and the Barbican in London for Dead Man Walking, Beth Morrison Projects for REV23, Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Doug in Everest, Pittsburgh Opera as Starbuck in Moby Dick, and Atlanta Opera as Sweeney Todd. The 2018-2019 season sees him as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Pittsburgh Opera, Alfio/Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci with Madison Opera, Conte di Luna in Il trovatore in his Seattle Opera debut, a reprise of his Dead Man Walking with Atlanta Opera, and the title role in Nixon in China in his debut with Oper Stuttgart.


Emma Grimsley, Younger Alice

Emma Grimsley is currently in the North American touring company of The Phantom of the Opera as understudy for the role of Christine Daaé. Recently she appeared in a reading of Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff’s new play Time and Chance.

A passionate explorer of the intersection between opera and musical theatre, Grimsley has appeared as Johanna in Sweeney Todd with New Orleans Opera, Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof with Shreveport Opera, Cunegonde in Candide with Ash Lawn Opera, and Sally in Jerome Kern’s Sally with Light Opera of New York (recording now available). In 2016, Grimsley made her Off-Broadway debut as Barbara Conti in Vid Guerriero's ¡Figaro! (90210). She reprised her role during the show’s second Off-Broadway run in 2017.

Grimsley, a champion of new works, made her Nashville Opera debut as Young Alyce in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied. Recently, she appeared in a workshop of Theo Popov and Tony Asaro’s new opera The Halloween Tree with American Lyric Theatre and premiered selections from Logan Skelton’s song cycle Letters to Santa. During her time as a Young Artist at The Glimmerglass Festival, Grimsley originated the roles of Reed and LadyFinger in the world premiere of Laura Karpman and Kelly Rourke’s Wilde Tales.

Grimsley made her operatic debut in 2014 as Lucia in Vespertine Opera’s production of The Rape of Lucretia. Since then, other favorite engagements have included Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with Pacific MusicWorks under the musical direction of Grammy Award winner Stephen Stubbs, Ruth Putnam in The Crucible at The Glimmerglass Festival, and Minette in the West Coast premiere of Hanz Werner Henze’s The English Cat at the University of Southern California.

In addition to her time at Glimmerglass, Grimsley has spent summers at The Seagle Music Colony, where she played Guenevere in Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot and Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, as well as at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

 Grimsley is also a published writer.


John Riesen, Younger Thompson

Hailed as “passionate...and stunning” (Chautauquan Daily), award-winning American tenor John Riesen is consistently impressing audiences in the world of opera and musical theater with his powerful voice and boyish charm. Recent roles include Candide in Candide (Chautauqua Opera), Tony in West Side Story Suite (New York City Ballet), Tony in West Side Story (Boulder Philharmonic/Central City Opera), Gaston in Beauty and the Beast (Shreveport Opera),  Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly  (Pensacola Opera), Frederic in Pirates of Penzance (Ithaca Opera), Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi (Crested Butte Summer Festival), Rodolfo in La Bohème (Shreveport Opera), Alfredo in La Traviata (Tri-Cities Opera), and Lensky in Eugene Onegin (Chautauqua Opera).

This season, Mr. Riesen will be seen around the U.S. in roles such as Daniel Pilgrim in the World Premier of Evan L. Snyder's Opera A Capacity for Evil with Opera MODO, Tony in the West Side Story Suite with the NYC Ballet at the Lincoln Center, Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore with Anchorage Opera, Henrik in A Little Night Music (Opera Ithaca), Younger Thompson in Glory Denied with Opera Birmingham, and Lensky in Eugene Onegin with Intermountain Opera Bozeman  among others to be announced.

Last season, John performed across the U.S., including appearances with the Marshall Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Texarkana Symphony, Shreveport Symphony and Cuttime productions, as well as in concerts in Texarkana, TX; Pensacola and Miami, FL; Detroit, MI; Tulsa, OK; and more. Theatrically, Mr. Riesen was featured as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast at Shreveport Opera, Tony in West Side Story with the Boulder Philharmonic/Central City Opera, Tony in West Side Story with the New York City Ballet  at the Lincoln Center, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly (Pensacola Opera), and Frederic in Pirates of Penzance (Opera Ithaca).

In 2016, John completed his second of two seasons as the resident tenor at Shreveport Opera, where he sang many leading roles, including Father Grenville in Dead Man Walking, Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S Pinafore, Don José (cover)/Remendado in Carmen, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Alfredo (cover)/Gastone in La Traviata. The previous year, John finished his third season at Chautauqua Opera as an AGMA apprentice artist. In his three summers at Chautauqua, he performed many roles, including Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Stagedoorman/2nd Dandy in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Malcom (cover) in Macbeth and Rector Adams (cover) in Peter Grimes. He was awarded the Chautuaqua Opera’s Studio Artist Award in 2012, Returning Apprentice Award in 2014 and Apprentice Artist Award in his final year, 2015.

Other awards and honors include first place in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition, second place in the William C. Byrd Competition, Regional Finalist and the Audience Choice Award in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Gulf Coast Region (2015), Great Lakes Region (2014 and 2013); second place in the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition (2016), as well as the competition’s Dr. Melvin & Lea Johnson memorial award the previous year; fifth place in the Opera Columbus Cooper-Bing Competition (2015); and the Clare S. Mackey Endowed Fund among other merits.

He has been privileged to sing for political figures, including President Barack Obama, President Jimmy Carter, Judge Stephanie Kulp Seymour and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He also has been honored to sing the national anthem at several collegiate, semi-professional and professional organizations, including the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, the Pensacola Ice Flyers, MSU hockey/baseball and more. Before singing, John avidly pursued athletics and academics, and he attained all-region pitcher status in 2006 and 2007, as well as Academic All-State honors in 2008.


Kristine McIntyre, director

Stage director Kristine McIntyre has directed more than 80 operas across the U.S. with a focus on new, contemporary, and American works. Productions include Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby Dick (Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera), Dead Man Walking (Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Des Moines Metro Opera, Madison Opera), the world premiers of Louis Karchin's Jane Eyre (Center for Contemporary Opera, New York) and Mark Lanz Weiser and Amy Punt's The Place Where You Started (Portland State University), new productions of Billy Budd and Peter Grimes as well as As One (Kaminsky / Campbell / Reed) and David T. Little's Soldier Songs (Des Moines Metro Opera), Jonathan Dove’s Flight (Pittsburgh Opera, Austin Lyric Opera), Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair (Lyric Opera of Kansas City) and Three Decembers (Des Moines Metro Opera), Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry (Tulsa Opera), Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men (Utah Opera, Austin Opera, Tulsa Opera), the world premier of Kirke Mechem’s John Brown (Lyric Opera of Kansas City), new productions of Street Scene, The Tender Land (Michigan Opera Theater) and Lee Hoiby's Bon Appétit, a staged concert version of Vanessa (Toledo Opera) and the world premier of The Canticle of the Black Madonna (Newmark Theater, Portland).

Other recent opera directing credits include a film-noir style Don Giovanni (Utah Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Kentucky Opera), an Emmy-award winning production of Manon for Des Moines Metro Opera, Otello, La CenerentolaToscaLe nozze di FigaroIl ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria and La clemenza di Tito (Pittsburgh Opera), The Pearl Fishers (Utah Opera), Jenůfa, Eugene Onegin and La bohème (Des Moines Metro Opera),  Lucia di Lammermoor and Madama Butterfly (Arizona Opera), Così fan tutteNorma, and The Turn of the Screw (Lyric Opera of Kansas City), Il ritorno d’Ulisse, Lucia di Lammermoor and La traviata (Portland Opera), The Tales of Hoffmann, Un Ballo in Maschera and Cosìfan tutte (Madison Opera), Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly, Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci, Carmen and Werther (Kentucky Opera), La bohème (New Orleans Opera), Don Giovanni and Rigoletto (Tulsa Opera), a new American setting of Hansel and Gretel (Skylight Opera Theatre), Lucia di Lammermoor (Anchorage Opera), Tancredi (Opera Boston), Verdi’s Un giorno di regno (Wolftrap Opera), Manon (Opera Santa Barbara), Béatrice et Bénédict and Viva la Mamma (Tacoma Opera), and Die Fledermaus, A Little Night Music, Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and seven Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for Mock’s Crest in Portland.

Upcoming projects include Florencia en el Amazonas for Madison Opera, a new production of Flight for DMMO, the L.A. premier of The Place Where you Started, a new version of her 50-minute bilingual Barber of Seville for Atlanta Opera, productions of The Magic Flute and Cav / Pag as well as a revival of her film-noir Don Giovanni for Palm Beach Opera, a new production of La rondine for Oberlin in Italy and a new production of Wozzeck. In addition, her new Moby Dickproduction will travel to Opera San Jose and Chicago Opera Theater in 2019 and to the Teatre Liceu in Barcelona in 2020.

Kristine began her career at the San Francisco Opera and then spent eight years on the directing staff of the Metropolitan Opera where she directed revivals of La traviata, Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Luisa Miller, and directed La traviata on tour for the company in Japan and for HD broadcast as part of the Renée Fleming gala. Kristine has trained opera singers in the studio programs at the Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, Portland Opera, andPittsburgh Opera and has written and directed operatic adaptations for Portland Opera To Go, a touring educational arts program that has reached over one hundred thousand people in Oregon, Washington and Northern California. Her recent bilingual adaptation of The Barber of Seville was produced to great acclaim Portland Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Houston Grand Opera/HGO CO and will be seen at Atlanta Opera in future seasons.

With a background in theater, Kristine was the founder and artistic director of everyman, a San Francisco-based theater company for which she directed and designed critically acclaimed productions of works by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Howard Brenton. She has also collaborated with Rebecca Salzer Dance Theatre where she co-created exciting new works which explore the boundaries of theatre, film and dance. Collaborations includeSkywatch! and most recently Bird Lady, a piece of dance theater about street photographer Vivian Maier.

Kristine has a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from Georgetown University and Master's in Theatre from the University of Hull in England.



Des Moines Metro Opera is a nationally recognized, progressive opera company that has taken its place among America’s leading opera festivals. Founded in 1973, it is the state’s largest performing arts organization, annually producing over 100 performances in the metro area and around the state and region. Last year 94,000 people experienced Des Moines Metro Opera programming via mainstage performances, educational programs and statewide television and radio broadcasts. In 2017 the Chicago Tribune called DMMO one of “the oldest and most enterprising summer opera fests in the nation,” and titled their review of the season, “World-class opera grows tall and proud in the Corn Belt.”

The Company’s Summer Festival Season runs from May through July of each year during which time three operas are performed in repertory for 15 mainstage performances. The Summer Festival Season takes place in the 467-seat Pote Theater at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola, Iowa. Each season the Company welcomes audiences from nearly 40 states, most Iowa counties and several countries. The 2019 Summer Festival Season runs from June 28 through July 21, 2019.

The Company develops audiences of all ages through five educational programs. The OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe and the Apprentice Artist Program for singers are two of the long-standing, flagship programs of the education division. Des Moines Metro Opera serves more than 40,000 people each year across the state through its educational programming.

Des Moines Metro Opera serves its city as a cultural leader through unique community programming and collaborations. The 2nd Stages Series creates collaborative performances designed to engage audiences in creative spaces.

More information about Des Moines Metro Opera is available at Follow Des Moines Metro Opera on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube!