Alchemy - Roald Hoffmann

Important information for ticket holders

Please pick up your ticket(s) at 17:30h at the garden gate to Gare du Nord’s „Fürstengarten", which is located on the left side of the main Gare du Nord’s theater entrance. As always, we predict sunny skies and warm temperatures in which case we will serve our Apéro riche outside; should our weather forecast fail (it has in the past) we will meet in the beautiful Gare du Nord Bar, which can also be accessed through the Fürstengarten gate.


We kindly ask you to self-test yourself with a COVID-19 rapid test prior to the premiere. Also, we have decided that during the performance in the theater masks will be compulsory. We are aware this may not be an ideal situation for you as our treasured guests; however we do feel obliged to make sure that you and all our Alchemy actors will stay safe.

A melodrama/opera by Roald Hoffmann and Oliver Peter Graber

A female supercomputer called “ADA” with a propensity for poetry, theory and experiment, ethics and the urge to research, art and science, and sounds based on “chemical data” - these are just some of the components awaiting the audience at the world premiere of the melodrama/opera Alchemy.

Both Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann (text) and Oliver Peter Graber (music and overall concept) are united by a particularly intensive interdisciplinarity; while Hoffmann, who was honored on numerous occasions for his achievements in chemistry, is just as passionately dedicated to literary creation, Graber seeks to draw a close connection between musical composition and imaging method in the neurosciences.

The international ensemble includes the mezzo-soprano Stephanie McGuire from USA/Germany, the enthusiastic young acting company “Prinz Ip” from Basel and the composer himself (piano and electronics).

The event will start with an Apéro riche at 17:30, followed by the premiere starting at 19:00.

World première

Fri, 06 May 2022, 17.30

Gare du Nord, Schwarzwaldallee 200, 4058 Basel

Tickets are currently available by invitation only. If you would like to apply for up to two tickets please send us an email (ralf.stutzki(at) and we will put you on a waiting list.

Roald Hoffmann
© Gary Hodges
Oliver Peter Graber
Stephanie McGuire
Lotta Tasman, Lesley Loew, Sophie Irion, Christof Hofer, Nino Näf, Sam Ammann

fascinates, be it in science or the arts, for at its core is essential change.

The text of the opera introduces the audience to the exciting world of an ambitious young woman chemist, her friend, a male futuristic painter, and an older colleague, a maker of molecules. All are intent on changing the world, while a supercomputer guards humanity, and is itself transformed in the process.

With contemporary audio-technology, chemical data can be transformed into sound and musical structure: The “orchestra of atoms” is made up of supporting strings and piano. These basic concepts have been developed by Oliver Peter Graber in collaboration with different researchers/research institutes.

In the case of Alchemy the knowledge and experiences of both artists are summed up to a new level of artistic and scientific interaction that bridges the gap between music, science, literature and philosophy.

Roald Hoffmann

Roald Hoffmann was born in 1937 in Złoczów, Poland. Having survived World War II, he came to the U. S. in 1949, and studied chemistry at Columbia and Harvard Universities (Ph.D. 1962). Since 1965 he is at Cornell University, now as the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus. He has received many of the honors of his profession, including the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (shared with Kenichi Fukui).

In more than 650 scientific articles and two books, he has taught the chemical community new and useful ways to look at the geometry and reactivity of molecules, from organic through inorganic to infinitely extended structures.

At Cornell, Hoffmann taught introductory chemistry half of his time. Notable also is his reaching out to the general public; he was the presenter, for example, of a television course in chemistry titled „The World of Chemistry,“ shown widely since 1990.

As a writer, Hoffmann has carved out a land between science, poetry, and philosophy, through many essays, five non-fiction books, three plays and five published collections of poetry, including bilingual Spanish-English and Russian-English editions published in Madrid and Moscow.

Oliver Peter Graber

Oliver Peter Graber is internationally active as a composer, concert pianist and dramaturge. He has taught at the university level and was dramaturge of the Vienna State Ballet. In recent years, his compositional activities have focused overseas; pianistically, he has recently emerged as a performer of his own works for piano and orchestra, as well as chamber music with members of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Oliver Peter Graber is a co-founder of Ludwig Med (, a start-up that develops composition and artificial intelligence for medical and therapeutic applications focusing on the use of functional music in intensive care units and in respiratory and neurological rehabilitation.

Stephanie McGuire

The mezzo-soprano Stephanie McGuire, who comes from the USA and lives in Berlin, among other places, has an extensive repertoire that represents the entire stylistic breadth of her vocal range. In recent years she has focused on the exciting juxtaposition of baroque and contemporary music, however, this does not stop her, for example, from collaborating with the Boston POPS under the direction of Keith Lockhart on arias from the most important works of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her collaborations with other conductors such as Gary Wedow, Mark Shapiro and Tim Nelson have taken her to prestigious venues such as the New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, and Metropolitan Opera Guild.

Prinz Ip

A little bit of everything, something for everyone: Prinz Ip offers creative young adults the opportunity to express themselves artistically, be it in the field of music, movement, theater or other performance arts, as well as mixed forms of the same. With such interdisciplinary projects, Prinz Ip wants to make a cultural contribution to the city of Basel.