Arts and Humanities

What’s on at Carolina Performing Arts for spring 2023

CPA’s spring program features Omar and more music, dance and drama to celebrate the triumph and resilience of the human spirit.

Carolina performing arts spring season.

Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announces an action-packed spring lineup for its 22/23 season, offering new opportunities to rediscover, reengage and reconnect with in-person arts experiences. CPA’s spring season features classical and jazz concerts, drama exploring the human condition, and the North Carolina premiere of “Omar” — the powerful new opera by Southern Futures Artist-in-Residence Rhiannon Giddens and acclaimed composer Michael Abels (“Nope,” “Get Out”).

“Let’s come together through shared creative experiences to heal and purge some of the heaviness of the last two years,” invites Alison Friedman, the James and Susan Moeser Executive and Artistic Director.

The spring season kicks off Jan. 12 with trumpeter and musical storyteller Theo Croker, whose singular style is bringing sexy back with hot fusions of jazz, hip-hop, R&B and more.

The season continues with Hong Kong Ballet’s stunning presentation of Septime Webre’s new “Romeo + Juliet.” Webre’s original choreography is accompanied by Prokofiev’s dramatic score and intense martial arts fight scenes to create a brilliant adaptation that fuses dance and drama against the backdrop of a world in flux.

From Feb. 25-26, CPA presents the North Carolina premiere of Southern Futures Artist-in-Residence Rhiannon Giddens’ and composer Michael Abels’ new opera, “Omar.” Co-commissioned and co-produced by CPA and Spoleto Festival USA, this sweeping work draws inspiration from the 1831 autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, a West African scholar enslaved in Charleston, South Carolina and Fayetteville, North Carolina. “Omar” tells a profound story of strength, resistance and religious conviction in the face of harrowing circumstances.

The spring season continues to engage artists and community partners to produce new works, collaborations and research for the Southern Futures initiative, which uses the arts to explore social justice, racial equity and the American South. CPA’s spring lineup brings back Southern Futures artist and longtime CPA collaborator Toshi Reagon, who will present “Nite & Day,” an uplifting musical event created in partnership with — and inspired by — the local community.

Music lovers will be thrilled with the wide range of additional genres throughout the spring:

  • “Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses,” is dedicated to Jen Shyu’s late mother and father. Commissioned by John Zorn, this stunning work of theater, music and movement offers a profound exploration of grief and the envisioned life.
  • Sō Percussion and Caroline Shaw are known for creating new interpretations of modern classics and new avenues for classical music. For Carolina, they team up to create an exciting world of color and sound.
  • Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science confront social justice issues through a thrilling meld of jazz, R&B, indie rock, contemporary improvisation and hip-hop for their Carolina Jazz Festival headlining performance.
  • Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Mitsuko Uchida return to Chapel Hill with a program that combines music from the two Viennese schools, pairing the finesse of Mozart with the expressionism of Schönberg.
  • Award-winning pianist Jean Yves-Thibaudet brings his sparkle to Memorial Hall, where he will perform the complete Debussy Preludes.
  • Members of the Silkroad Ensemble perform “Falling Out of Time,” a song cycle traversing vast and varied emotional landscapes to explore themes of accompaniment in grief and what we owe each other.

The spring season also features dance and theatre performances to spark curiosity, stimulate conversation and celebrate our life stages:

  • “HOME” is a large-scale performance project that revolves around the life cycle of a house. Created through a mix of illusion, choreography, construction and a bit of clowning, Geoff Sobelle’s work illuminates how the messiness of life transforms a house into a home.
  • “Tao of Glass” is a celebration of the power of theatre. This personal collaboration between the great actor, puppeteer and director Phelim McDermott and composer Philip Glass is part autobiographical play and part meditation on the power and influence of Glass’s music.
  • Co-founded in 1991 by Annie-B Parson, Molly Hickok and Paul Lazar, Big Dance Theater is known for its inspired use of dance, music, text and visual design. Audiences can experience two of the company’s ingenious pieces: “The Road Awaits Us” and “Cage Shuffle.”
  • “the other shore,” zoe | juniper’s thought-provoking, two-room installation interrogates the audience-performer relationship and offers new perspectives on how we interact with stories.

Spring Season 2023

Jan. 12— Theo Croker || LOVE QUANTUM ||
Jan. 20-21 — Hong Kong Ballet: “Romeo + Juliet”
Jan. 27-28 — Jen Shyu: “Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses”
Feb. 1 — Sō Percussion and Caroline Shaw
Feb. 4 — Geoff Sobelle: “HOME”
Feb. 17 — Carolina Jazz Festival: Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science
Feb. 25-26 — “Omar”
March 7— Mahler Chamber Orchestra with Mitsuko Uchida, piano and director
March 10-11 — Toshi Reagon: “Nite & Day”
March 24-25 — “Tao of Glass”
March 28 — Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Debussy Preludes
April 6 — Big Dance Theater: “The Road Awaits Us + Cage Shuffle”
April 14-16— zoe | juniper: “the other shore”
April 20 — Osvaldo Golijov: “Falling Out of Time”

Single tickets and holiday packages are available for the general public starting Nov. 15. Ticket sales for current donors will begin Nov. 7 according to gift level.

Carolina students are eligible for $10 tickets for select seats on a first-come, first-served basis. Current employees of UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Health receive a 15% faculty/staff discount on tickets to CPA performances. Valid UNC One Card/ID required for student/faculty/staff discounts; limits apply. Active or retired military personnel, and patrons 65 and older receive a 10% discount on CPA performances with valid ID; limits apply.

Additional discounts available for select performances. Visit carolinaperformingarts.org for details.

For full performance listings, pricing and venue information, visit carolinaperformingarts.org.