Reid’s The Shell Trial – Dutch National Opera and Het Geluid

Reid’s The Shell Trial – Dutch National Opera and Het Geluid

World premiere featuring over 50 local children and young people

This ambitious co-production between the Dutch National Opera and Het Geluid of Maastricht was dreamed up by Romy and Gable Roelofsen of Het Geluid together with conductor and theatre maker Manoj Kamps. It featured Internationally renowned soloists, members of the Concert Gebouw Orchestra and a 50+ strong chorus of children specially recruited from in and around Amsterdam.

Composed by American Pulitzer Prize-winning Ellen Reid with a libretto by Roxie Perkins, The Shell Trial is based on the groundbreaking lawsuit against oil giant Shell. The piece brings together different voices and perspectives, beginning difficult conversations about the climate crisis and the responsibility we all share for the current state and future health of our planet. 

Suzi was a consultant on the production, auditioning children from Amsterdam and the surrounding areas, selecting a group of talented young people chosen for their potential rather than those with performance experience. Together with Lea Cornthwaite, she trained the young chorus and supported them through their performances at the Dutch National Opera in March 2024.

A chorus of singing children process from the back of the auditorium, arriving at a sadly beautiful lament as they step onstage. That alone could induce a pang of guilt, but then they begin to resemble the adults from earlier. And when they yell words like "deny", it's inherently more unsettling, and moving.

Everyone screams the word “burn!” until the children intone that “the dirt remembers”. The audience leaps to its feet for the final applause; the kids deserve it.