16-21 Mar 2024


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage

Running time

1:30, no interval


From € 16

The Shell Trial

A crisis of responsibility

In 2021, a Dutch court ruled that Shell was legally responsible for its contribution to climate change. In The Shell Trial, the various voices in the climate debate are heard and it becomes increasingly clear that we will not make any progress by endlessly pointing the finger at one another. The message of this topical opera is that the climate crisis is above all a crisis of responsibility. 

Photo: Marta Syrko

A crisis of responsibility

The Shell Trial is based on the play De zaak Shell by Rebekka de Wit and Anoek Nuyens, which premiered in 2020 and caused a stir on the Dutch and international stage. Presenting a range of voices and perspectives in the climate crisis, the complexity of the case becomes increasingly clear during the opera. The boundaries between guilty party and innocent victim, between good and bad, and individual and collective responsibility become blurred as more and more viewpoints are expressed.


Collective and sustainable

In The Shell Trial, DNO will be partnering for the first time with the Maastricht opera and theatre platform Het Geluid Maastricht. Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Ellen Reid, who will be artist in residence at the Royal Concertgebouw and Orchestra in 2024, is composing the music for Roxie Perkins’ libretto based on the original play. The opera is a collective production, an approach that musical director and co-creator Manoj Kamps is familiar with after FAUST [working title] and I have missed you forever. The multi-faceted classical singer Julia Bullock, who is known for her social engagement, is another of the co-creators, as well as a performer, in the production. 

Dutch National Opera also aims to practice what it preaches by making the production as sustainable as possible. The objective is to learn valuable lessons from this pilot project that can be incorporated for future productions.

Contribute to this Green Deal production

Contribute to this Green Deal production

We are making this performance as sustainable as possible 

We believe it is important to be sustainable when creating art so that future generations too can continue to enjoy the magic on our stage. That is why we are looking at how we can make our productions more sustainable. Among other things, this has resulted in our own Green Deal – a guideline for how to reduce the environmental impact of productions.

This production was created in accordance with the Green Deal as one of the first in a series. We are learning all we can from our experiences, and this will help us adapt our approach next season.

To offset the unavoidable emissions resulting from this performance, Dutch National Opera & Ballet is partnering with Trees For All, a charity recognised by the Netherlands Fundraising Regulator. Trees For All plants trees in the Netherlands and abroad for a better climate, more biodiversity and a healthier living environment.  

Audiences attending this performance are being offered the opportunity to make an extra contribution to two forest sustainability projects: new loam-soil woodland in the Groene Woud nature area in Brabant (Netherlands) and the restoration of the tropical rainforest and habitat of the orang-utan in Borneo.


Help the planet keep its forests

You too can contribute to these forest sustainability projects. If you buy tickets online for The Shell Trial, you will get the option during the payment process to add an extra amount. Your contribution goes directly to Trees For All.

Performance information

Sung in English

Music Ellen Reid
Libretto  Roxie Perkins; based on the play De zaak Shell by Anoek Nuyens, Rebekka de Wit, Frascati Producties and De Nwe Tijd

Musical direction and co-creation  Manoj Kamps
Stage direction, concept and co-adaptation  Gable Roelofsen and Romy Roelofsen
Set design  Davy van Gerven
Lighting design  Jean Kalman
Dramaturgy  Willem Bruls, Saar Vandenberghe, Jasmijn van Wijnen

The Government Claire Barnett-Jones
The Consumer Anthony Leon
The law / The Artist Julia Bullock   
The CEO Audun Iversen             
The activist Ella Taylor       
The climate refugee Carla Nahadi Babelegoto      
The Historian Jasmin White 
The weatherman Erik Slik            
The elementary school teacher Nikki Treurniet
The pilot Alexander de Jong
The fossil fuel laborer Allen Michael Jones
The Farmer tba

Nieuw Amsterdams Children’s Chorus (part of Nieuw Vocaal Amsterdam)

Children's choir conductor  Anaïs de la Morandais

Academists and members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Commission by Dutch National Opera, in co-production with Het Geluid (Maastricht), Opera Philadelphia and Bregenz Festival

Based on the prizewinning play 
De zaak Shell

The lawsuit against Shell

The case against Shell was won by the environmental organisation Milieudefensie and supporting individuals in 2021. Shell lodged an appeal against the ruling, which will be heard in court in 2024 – the same year as the world premiere of The Shell Trial.


Ticket prices

Check out the ticket prices per price category via the link below. Youths up to 35 can attend this performance for only €25,00 (including booking fee), regardless of which price category is ordered.

Ticket prices

We offer discounts for specific groups in order to make our performances accessible to everyone. Check this page to see if you are eligible for a discount.

Standard City Pass Youths up to 35
1st € 64,00 € 54,00 € 23,00
2nd € 58,00  € 48,00 € 23,00
3rd € 48,00 € 38,00 € 23,00
4th € 37,00 € 27,00 € 23,00
5th € 21,00 € 20,00 € 23,00
6th € 16,00 € 15,00 € 23,00

Dutch National Opera & Ballet works with a system of dynamic pricing: during the booking period the ticket prices may increase, depending on demand. Prices exclude € 2,00 booking fee per ticket.

Student discount and student alert
Students can take advantage of discounted tickets for performances at Dutch National Opera & Ballet. From 13.00 on the day of the performance, if it is not sold out, you can buy a ticket online for only € 19 (including booking fee). Have your valid student ID card or proof of enrolment ready to show at the door.

For some performances, we are already giving students the opportunity to book with student discounts. Want to stay up to date with our student offers? Sign up for the student alert and receive the latest news about offers in your mailbox.

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The Shell Trial
Photo: Erin Baiano

Composer Ellen Reid on The Shell Trial

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is one of the world’s top orchestras. Since it was founded in 1888, it has worked with leading conductors and soloists. Klaus Mäkelä is the orchestra’s artistic partner and will become its chief conductor in 2027. The orchestra plays around eighty concerts a year in the Concertgebouw and forty in other prestigious venues. It also reaches music lovers around the world with its videos, streaming, radio and TV broadcasts, CDs and DVDs.

Photo: Simon van Boxtel

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Academy of the Concertgebouw Orchestra trains talented young musicians, while accomplished musicians aged 14 to 17 from all over Europe come together in Concertgebouworkest Young. The orchestra has a long tradition of collaboration with Dutch National Opera and can be heard this season in the new production The Shell Trial and in Fidelio


An introduction will take place 45 minutes before the start of this performance, during which an expert will give background information and offer interesting perspectives on the performance, allowing you to get even more out of your theatre visit. The introductions are given in Dutch. They can be visited for free and without reservation, by showing your ticket for the performance.

Introduction The Shell Trial by: tba
Location: Souterrain


Nominee of the FEDORA Opera Prize 2022 & Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

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