Saturday, March 12, 2016

Opera Fallujah Premiere Harder For Marine Veteran

World premiere of opera 'Fallujah' in Long Beach may be among former Marine's most difficult missions
Los Angeles Times
David Ng
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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