City Opera presented a new work, Fallujah, by Tobin Stokes. In its revived form, City Opera has been presenting in a variety of venues. Fallujah was staged at the Duke on 42nd Street, “an intimate, flexible, black-box theater” (according to its self-description). It is a smart place for an opera, particularly a chamber opera, which Fallujah is.

Stokes is a Canadian, and the composer of at least one other chamber opera: Pauline, whose libretto is by Margaret Atwood, the famed Canadian novelist. The opera is about Pauline Johnson, a Canadian writer and stage performer who lived from 1861 to 1913. Fallujah, of course, is about the Iraq War, and in particular one of its worst battlegrounds: the city of Fallujah, in Anbar Province. The opera is also about...