The Shell Trial bosbrand

Dutch National Opera creates opera about climate crisis

27 September 2022

Fedora Opera Prize Nominee 2022 Banner

The opera The Shell Trial, produced by Dutch National Opera, has been nominated for the Fedora Opera Prize: an international award supporting cutting-edge artistic projects that promote international collaboration, creativity, social integration and intercultural dialogue, as well as digital innovation on and beyond the stage. This opera will premiere at Dutch National Opera’s Opera Forward Festival in 2024. 

The Shell Trial is an opera based on the play De zaak Shell, by Rebekka de Wit and Anoek Nuyens, from 2020. The Shell Trial is a new opera that delves into the context of a game-changing court case in which the oil company giant, Shell, was confronted with its legal responsibility for climate change. However, this production is not only about one company's responsibility, or lack thereof. With The Shell Trial, we bring together different voices and perspectives whereby audiences and stakeholders will be confronted with their own role and responsibility in relation to the climate crisis.

In collaboration with co-producers Gable Roelofsen and Romy Roelofsen, founders of Het Geluid Maastricht, we hope this opera will spark conversation about the climate crisis and the responsibility we all share for the current and future health of our planet. American Pulitzer Prize-winning Ellen Reid will be the composer of this opera, with a libretto by Roxie Perkins. Conductor and theatre maker Manoj Kamps, who debuted with Dutch National Opera in 2020, will co-create and conduct the piece. And celebrated American soprano Julia Bullock will co-create and perform in this production.

At Dutch National Opera, sustainability is high on the agenda across the whole organisation. We are therefore continually looking for opportunities to implement sustainable strategies throughout the company which means there is, of course, a focus on re-thinking production processes. For The Shell Trial, we will implement a compensation plan to offset the ecological footprint of the production and the team will challenge themselves to create all sets and costumes using existing and recycled materials.

This project harnesses the power of contemporary musical theatre to stimulate conversation about one of today's most important social issues: the climate crisis. And you can contribute to it! With your donation, we can invest in making our production process more sustainable and contribute together to a crucial dialogue in our society. Help us start the conversation by donating today. Will you help make our ambition a reality? Then donate now using the button below!

Register now for the best seats

The Shell Trial will premiere at the Opera Forward Festival 2024. If you want to be one of the first to book the best seats, register on the waiting list now. We will notify you via email as soon as sales start.