CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, the article “Carolina Performing Arts set to sell out 15 shows” incorrectly stated that CPA is having its second most profitable year since 2005. Ticket sales will not cover the full cost of the season, so it cannot be referred to as profitable. The article has been changed to reflect this.
Carolina Performing Arts is enjoying high revenues this year – and it’s just getting started.
Mark Nelson, director of marketing and communications for CPA, said he expects 15 shows to sell out this season, especially with big-name artists like Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell and the Punch Brothers performing.
This year, CPA is focusing on a season-long project, “The Rite of Spring at 100,” the centennial celebration of Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky’s avant-garde ballet.
“When we put our schedule together, we look for a balance as far as what are shows that we know are going to be popular and what are shows that we know are maybe not as commercially successful but are artistically important,” Nelson said.
Ivis Bohlen, exhibits manager and award coordinator at UNC Press, said this year’s program lineup — with the “The Rite of Spring” emphasis — prompted her to buy season tickets for the first time with a friend.
“It’s definitely a ticket-worthy season, I think, because of its breadth of interpretation,” Bohlen said.
Holly Hall, a Chapel Hill resident who is taking Russian classes at UNC, also said she’s excited about the Rite of Spring performances, especially for the interpretations that are closer to the original.
“I’m really excited about the season,” Hall said. “I’m hoping that this will get me into the habit of going to performance again.”
Hall said she tried to get tickets for The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma at the end of August, but by then, student tickets were already sold out.
“If anything, I’m probably just going to go early and see if anything shows up,” she said.
Nelson said the older demographic of CPA patrons typically skews toward orchestral performances, which are a big seller for CPA. He said the younger demographic usually attends the shows featuring more well-known artists and tends to be more receptive to newer, more experimental work.
Nelson said that, on average, one-third of an audience is made up of students. He said he enjoys seeing the different demographics mixing at performances.
“You’ll have a very nicely dressed couple from the Governors Club coming down that just had dinner at the Lantern or something, and then you’ll have students in shorts, flip flops and a backpack,” Nelson said.
Bohlen said some of her friends who are interested in the arts are even talking about CPA’s season on Twitter.
“Their slogan they have on the buses is really true — the world is coming to Carolina.”
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