, an opera based on real life experiences of 29 year old former Marine machine-gunner, Christian Ellis, is helping him put the pain and anguish of lost comrades behind him.
While serving in Iraq, Ellis’ platoon was ambushed and left him with a broken back and one of only a few survivors. He has since returned home where he has continued to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has attempted suicide four times.
After being challenged by philanthropist Charles Annenberg Weingarten to transform his experiences into a work of art that could heal and inspire, Ellis has created Fallujah
in conjunction with explore, a multimedia organisation that documents leaders who have devoted their lives to extraordinary causes, and City Opera Vancouver.
"City Opera’s role here is one of development," said Dr Nora Kelly, President of the Board. "The company will oversee the creation of an operatic libretto and score based on Christian Ellis’ story. Ellis was an American Marine in Iraq, but the story is universal. Our goal is to share a deeper truth about humanity, told through music, and to put a human face to both sides of military conflict."
Also assisting with the project is American-Iraqi playwright, Heather Raffo, who has written the libretto, and Canadian composer Tobin Stokes who wrote the score.
According to the US Department of Defense, the Battle of Fallujah was a joint U.S., Iraqi, and British offensive in 2004, considered the highest single point of conflict during the Iraq War. In total, 107 US, Iraqi, and British troops were killed and 613 were wounded in battle.