Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
FZG3mkG-show-poster2x3-nOossfs.png

SoCal Update

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
MZihTLV-show-poster2x3-5CKaGu8.jpg

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
HvlSxHY-show-poster2x3-4ik43uV.png

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

‘Fallujah’: The Story

Support Provided By
Christian Ellis
Christian Ellis  | Photo: Explore.org

The opera “Fallujah” spans a 72-hour holding period in a veterans’ hospital following U.S. Marine Philip Houston’s third suicide attempt. His mother waits to see him outside his hospital room, but Philip has not been able to face her since he returned from war. The loyal Marines he served with stand vigilant, more equipped to care for his particular demons than she. 

In these 72 hours, Philip’s battle is as vivid and deadly as the war in which he fought. In one of the opening scenesm, Wissam, a young Iraqi boy, enters Philip’s hospital room and, in a befriending gesture, writes his name on Philip’s hand. 

Suddenly one of Philip’s most humanizing memories becomes the catalyst through which he remembers how to live. Philip’s hours in the hospital force him to face both past and present. Scenes fly back and forth to Fallujah, providing a rare glimpse inside real hearts and minds before one of the biggest battles of the Iraq War.  

On the eve of the Battle of Fallujah, assuming heavy losses ahead, we see Philip and his fellow marines make final calls home to their families to say goodbye, without hinting at the horror to come. Nearby, Wissam and his mother must abandon their centuries-old family home. The act finally joins these worlds, these mothers, these sons, with each lingering “goodbye” reminding us just how much each character has to lose.

The opera “Fallujah”was composed by Tobin Stokes and the libretto is by Heather Raffo. The opera was originally commissioned by City Opera Vancouver. The television production is a collaboration between KCETLink Media Group, the Long Beach Opera, and explore.org.

Support Provided By
Read More
Fallujah Ticket Giveaway

Ticket Giveaway: Fallujah

Here's your chance to win tickets to "Fallujah"—the first opera composed about the Iraq war!
Christian Ellis

An Opera About the Iraq War Experience Is Born

When Christian Ellis' platoon was ambushed, he was one of the only survivors.
LaMarcus Miller

Meet the Cast of 'Fallujah'

Learn more about the talent that is bringing Ellis’ real-life experiences to the stage.