Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has announced the lineup for its 2023-24 season. The schedule features a diverse range of top-flight performers and emerging voices, offering audiences the chance to connect with artists from around the world and across the South.
Single tickets and ticket packages will become available to the public starting Aug. 8. Ticket sales for current donors will begin July 31 according to gift level.
“Our season’s focus is on fostering a culture of belonging,” said Alison Friedman, the James and Susan Moeser Executive and Artistic Director at CPA. “We’re doing this through the vibrant group of artists that we’ve chosen to commission and present, including globe-trotting orchestras, iconic dance companies, innovative theater-makers and community arts pillars.”
Throughout the 2023-24 season, CPA will showcase performances that open new avenues of inquiry about pressing global questions. This initiative will kick off in the fall with a visit from The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Music and Artistic Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. On Sept. 20 and 21, the Orchestra will partner with composer and guzheng player Wu Fei, as well as other featured soloists, to explore the role cultural diplomacy plays in shaping relationships and forging connections as it commemorates the 50th anniversary of its historic 1973 trip to China.
On Feb. 2, CPA will partner with the UNC music department’s State Department-funded hip-hop diplomacy initiative, Next Level, to co-create a concert that features international artists and pays tribute to the bridges hip-hop can build across cultures. The next evening, celebrated pianist Lara Downes and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove will present “Tomorrow I May Be Far Away,” their cross-genre collaboration highlighting stories of migration and transformation.
A week later, on Feb. 10, “The Old Man and the Sea” will arrive in Chapel Hill. This Paola Prestini opera, co-commissioned by CPA, combines elements of Hemingway’s novel with original portraits of daily life to examine age-old questions on art and passion. Then, from Feb. 22-24, audiences can witness another CPA co-commission: “Weathering,” choreographer Faye Driscoll’s latest work. This living, multisensory sculpture uses bodies, sounds, scents and more, inviting audiences to explore the forces that shape human existence.
The 2023-24 season will also look homeward to examine questions of belonging in the American South. To this end, the organization will co-produce “100% The Triangle,” a statistics-driven performance created by German theater group Rimini Protokoll in partnership with Carolina Demography. The production, featuring 100 nonactor participants from North Carolina’s Research Triangle, is scheduled to take the Memorial Hall stage on Oct. 14 and 15.
Nov. 3-4 will see the return of Creative Futures Artist-in-Residence Toshi Reagon. As CPA’s longest-running artist-in-residence, Reagon has collaborated with artists from all over North Carolina to cultivate vibrant, community-minded work. With “Meet You at the Crossroads IV,” the latest iteration of her ongoing project, Reagon hopes to open new conversations on interpersonal connection and cultural change-making through the arts.
In a similar vein, the 2023-24 season will feature the Hip Hop South Workshop Series. Over four separate sessions, CPA will partner with area artists to spotlight the global impact of Southern hip-hop. The list of hosts includes a group of community mainstays: Mir.I.Am’s Carolina Waves (Sept. 23), the Underground Collective (Nov. 8), the Raleigh Rockers B-Boy Crew (Feb. 1) and Piedmont Laureate Dasan Ahanu (March 5).
CPA will continue this exploration of belonging with a slate of reimagined classics. Dance fans will love Dorrance Dance’s new interpretation of the “Nutcracker Suite,” scheduled for Dec. 13. This original take on Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s interpretation of the Tchaikovsky favorite promises to provide soul and spirit in equal measure. The performance will pair well with a Dec. 9 visit from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis — a cherished holiday tradition.
Next, from Feb. 27 through 28, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will return to highlight work from a diverse group of emerging choreographers alongside beloved Ailey masterpieces. This visit will be followed by an April 5 performance from the Martha Graham Dance Company, America’s oldest modern dance company. The company will premiere a newly commissioned collaboration between Southern Futures Artist-in-Residence Rhiannon Giddens and former Ailey dancer-choreographer Jamar Roberts.
The season will feature visits from acclaimed musicians too, including Rounder Records’ Sierra Hull (Oct. 27); pianists Aaron Diehl and Clara Yang (Jan. 26); and Grammy Award-winning vocalist Arooj Aftab (March 23). Additionally, on March 26, Giddens will team up with Martha Redbone, Pura Fé and Charly Lowry for an evening of performances that center on belonging from the perspective of Indigenous artists.
Carolina students are eligible for $10.75 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. A valid UNC One Card/ID is 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 a valid ID; limits apply. More information on discounts can be found here.
For full performance listings, read CPA’s digital brochure.