With the encouragement and support of Charles Annenberg Weingarten and explore.org, USMC Sergeant (ret) Christian Ellis has transformed demons of war into a work of art aimed at shining a light on the aftermath of battle, PTSD and the fragility of life. Fallujah, the first opera about the Iraq War experience, is based on the experiences of Ellis, who served with the Marines in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.
Fallujah will be showcased at the Army National Guard in Long Beach from March 12 through March 20. KCETLink Media Group will present the U.S. broadcast premiere of Fallujah on Friday, March 18 at 8pm PT, live on KCET and streaming on Link TV.
US Marine Christian Ellis was a machine gunner in Iraq whose platoon was ambushed and bombed, killing many in his troop and leaving him with a broken back. He returned home to join millions of American soldiers struggling to piece their lives together while suffering from severe post-traumatic stress. After four suicide attempts and with the help of an acclaimed New York librettist of Iraqi descent, an accomplished composer, Vancouver Opera, Long Beach Opera, and explore.org’s Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, Ellis helped turn the demons of war into Fallujah.
The opera provides a glimpse inside real hearts and minds before and after one of the Iraq War’s biggest battles. The result is an inspiring, mind-opening, and moving work of art by Canadian composer Tobin Stokes and award-winning Iraqi American playwright Heather Raffo.