Los Angeles Times
March 12, 2016
The idea for the opera originated after his return from the war. While at an Idaho retreat for veterans, he struck up a friendship with Charles Annenberg Weingarten, the son of Los Angeles philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, who was shooting a documentary on veterans.
'Fallujah' Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Clockwise from top, Zeffin Quinn Hollis, Ani Maldjian, LaMarcus Miller, Jason Switzer and Jonathan Lacayo perform a scene from the opera "Fallujah" at the Army National Guard in Long Beach.During his tour of duty as a gunner in Iraq, former Marine Sgt. Christian Ellis experienced his share of trauma — the battles, the killings, an assault that left him with a spinal injury. But there were good memories too — the gung-ho Marine spirit, the camaraderie, even the sunsets in the Iraqi desert.
"They were incredible," he recalled, almost wistfully. "You've never seen anything like them."
Ellis was standing near a stage at the Army National Guard in Long Beach, looking at a wall-size photo of an orange sun descending on a desolate Iraqi landscape, a backdrop that will serve as a setting for the new opera inspired by his life.
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