Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus
Donna Angel founded Capitol City Opera in in 1983 to provide Atlanta area classically trained singers the opportunity to learn and perform complete opera roles and to continue to develop their post-graduate vocal and acting skills on a professional level. An accomplished singer, Donna has performed with The New Orleans Summer Pops Orchestra, The New Orleans Philharmonic, The Colombian Nacional Orchestra, The Boston Symphony, The Atlanta Symphony, Goldovsky Opera, Northwestern Opera Theatre, Kennesaw Opera Theatre, New Orleans Opera, and the Atlanta Chamber Opera Society. In June 2014 she was presented an international lifetime achievement award by Opera Volunteers International. The award, which recognizes outstanding individuals who have given extraordinary volunteer service to opera in their communities, cited Donna’s 30 plus years of unwavering support of opera in the metro Atlanta area as well as her focus on developing local talent. A graduate of Newcomb College in New Orleans, Donna received her Masters degree in voice from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She has also studied at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and the Tanglewood Institute, The Berkshires Festival, Lenox, Massachusetts.
Donna has studied under vocal coaches Marjorie Lawrence, Robert Bernauer, Irene Jordan, Janice Harsanyi, Phyllis Curtin, Norman Treigle, Dalton Baldwin, Ryan Edwards, Gerard Souzay, Robert Gay, and Fletcher Wolfe.
Over the course of her career, Donna’s passion for opera education has led her to become founder and director of Kennesaw State College Opera Theatre, director of Clark College Atlanta Opera Workshop, leader of Advanced Teen Voice and Adult Master classes at the Galloway Center for the Arts, Founder and Artistic Director of Friends of Opera, and of course Founder and Artistic Director of Capitol City Opera Company, Inc.
Donna has also taught in private studios in Lexington, Va., Greenville, S.C., and in metro Atlanta. Donna also served as Artist In Residence at Clark Atlanta College, Kennesaw State College, The Cathedral of St Philip, The Atlanta Boy Choir School of Music, The Galloway Center for the Arts, and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.
Donna’s awards and honors include Pi Kappa Lambda National Honorary – Music, Who’s Who in American Musicians (S.C.), Coordinator and Adjudicator Mobile Opera Guild Auditions, and her students have consistently placed tops in NATS, GMTA, Brevard Opera, Westminster Choir College, Goldovsky Competition, and McAlister Awards.
Michael Nutter made his Capitol City Opera Company debut in 1998, directing the Ned Rorem one-act The Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters, in which the concept for Opera Briefs was created with Donna Angel.
Since then Michael has directed over 35 operas with Capitol City Opera, including The Crucible, Meanwhile, Back at Cinderella’s, Wuthering Heights, The Old Maid and the Thief, The Saint of Bleecker Street, Susannah, Così fan tutte, The Medium, Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, PDQ Bach’s A Little Nightmare Music, The Stoned Guest, Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus, Dido and Æneas, Don Pasquale, Mozart’s The Impresario, Riders to the Sea, Kirke Mechem’s Tartuffe, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Puccini’s Il Trittico and in March 2013 directed CCOC’s recent world premiere of Curtis Bryant’s The Secret Agent.
In 2012 he directed for Atlanta Opera’s 24-Hour Project where his team won both audience and judges’ favorite in the competition with the farcical 10-minute opera Krispy Kremes and Butter Queens, composed by Jennifer Jolley. Michael made his directing debut with Eugene Opera on a semi-staged production of Cavalleria Rusticana. He has also directed Two From Seuss for the Oregon Bach Festival, as well as a production of The Telephone in Binghamton, N.Y., and the world premiere of Where Music Comes From in Eugene.
Michael has worked in opera, classical music and theatre professionally for 27 years, including staff positions for Atlanta Opera, Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, Central City Opera in Colorado and Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta, and has served for 15 seasons as Technical Director for the Grammy-award-winning Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene, Oregon.
He works full-time in the Human Resource department at the law firm of Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta. This coming fall Michael will be directing Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi for Eugene Opera’s Artist Mentor Program. He works full-time in the Human Resource department of Alston + Bird LLP, which has appeared for eleven years on Fortune’s® “The 100 Best Companies to Work For”™.
Catherine joined Capitol City Opera as its Music Director in 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in piano performance and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from the Florida State University College of Music. She studied piano with Leonidas Lipovetsky and Dr. James Nalley and served as accompanist, stage manager, and Outreach Coordinator to the Florida State Opera in addition to recitaling with numerous vocalists, instrumentalists, and ensembles in the region.
For five years, Catherine served as the accompanist in concert and on tour with the top undergraduate collegiate choral ensemble at Florida State, the University Singers, under the direction of Dr. Kevin Fenton. Previously, Catherine was the Education Manager for the internationally acclaimed Spivey Hall for over four years, where she facilitated extensive arts education programs for children and adults.
Catherine maintains a dynamic performance schedule as a frequent pianist for several regional organizations, has appeared as a Staff Accompanist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and served as a collaborative artist for numerous organizations, bands, competitions, and auditions throughout the country. Catherine is an alumni member of Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta and is a sought-after vocal coach, specializing in the operatic and art song repertoire.
Michael Giel received his Bachelor of Music Performance in Viola and Bachelor of Music Education from Valdosta State University where he was a student of Karin Addis and Matson Topper. In 2008 he completed a Masters of Music Education from the University of Georgia. He currently serves as the orchestra director at Lassiter Highschool.
Previously, Michael has served as the Orchestra Director for the Georgia Governors Honors Program at Valdosta State University for seven years and has also been a clinician for the DeKalb, Fulton, and Cherokee county orchestra festivals. Most recently, he was a guest conductor at the California Concerto Weekend in San Jose, CA.
As a violist and violinist, Michael has performed with several orchestras in Georgia and Florida including Macon Pops, the Gwinnett Philharmonic, Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, Ocmulgee Symphony, Gainesville (GA) Symphony, Albany (GA) Symphony, Coastal Symphony of Georgia, Rome (GA) Symphony, Atlanta Pops Orchestra, Ludwig Symphony Orchestra, Da Salo Solisti Chamber Orchestra, LaGrange Symphony, and the Central Florida Symphony. He is also a member of the Atlanta string trio Clairemont Strings.
On electric violin as a member of several local rock bands, Michael has performed as an opening act for such national bands as Third Day and Sister Hazel. He has also been featured in the Atlantis Music Conference and the Atlanta concert series On The Bricks, which showcases and supports local artists. Michael has also had the honor of performing with such artists and personalities including the Trans Siberian Orchestra, Evanescence, Debbie Reynolds, Josh Groban, Barry Manilow, Trampled by Turtles, and Oprah Winfrey.
There has been one constant in Courtney’s life, and that is music. Growing up in a house full of music lovers, she heard a wide variety of music that left Courtney wanting more. That want turned into a passion for creating sounds and feelings through performing and writing. Courtney took every chance she could get throughout grade school to be a part of the fine arts; whether it was playing clarinet in the band, singing in a chorus, taking voice lessons, working tech for shows, or playing a lead or ensemble role in musicals.
Courtney realized at a young age that she wanted to have a career in music and that is why she went on to major in Music Management at Georgia State University. During her time at GSU, Courtney wrote, recorded, and released original music for the first time. She was a member of the top choir at GSU, the University Singers, and worked as a Stage and House Manager at GSU’s Florence Kopleff Recital Hall. Courtney made it her goal to understand all sides of the performing arts from business, behind the scenes management, performance, and finally, she discovered another aspect that would lead to her future career path. Courtney interned at a music nonprofit called Georgia Music Partners, and that’s when she realized her love for nonprofits.
Once she graduated Summa Cum Laude from GSU in 2018 with her Bachelor’s degree, Courtney made it her goal to find a job at another music nonprofit. Her prayers were answered when Courtney was offered a job at the nonprofit professional opera company, Capitol City Opera Company.
Elexa Bancroft is an Atlanta business owner, teacher, artist and director of the vibrant Atlanta Music Education, LLC a music program for children. Her music school provides after-school classes and private lessons, Kids Open Mics, formal recitals and summer camps for over 80 students enrolled with her five co-teachers.
Ms. Bancroft is a mentor and speaker at the Dekalb School of the Arts and Craft and founder of the Young Atlanta Music Club. Her popular Kids Open Mic programs have been featured in the Decatur Focus, Decatur Dispatch and Tucker Times magazines and regularly have over 40 young performers grace the stages.
Florida native Elexa Bancroft holds a bachelors of music in voice performance from Florida State University. There, she studied in Marcia Porter’s studio for four years and before that, she studied four years in the studio of Carla Connors in Tallahassee. At the Quincy Music Theatre, she portrayed Belle in Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast and at the Tallahassee Theatre she performed Shelley in Bay Boy: The Musical and Wendy in Peter Pan.
Ms. Bancroft studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in the studio of Phyllis Bryn-Julson for her masters of music in voice performance. Elexa portrayed Despina in the production of Cosi fan tutte in the Peabody Opera mainstage production.
Elexa made her debut with Capitol City Opera in 2012 as Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at Oglethorpe University. She performed Despina, in English this time, in Cosi fan Tutte at the Conant Center for Performing Arts. Ms. Bancroft was choirmaster for the children of Puccini’s La Boheme and chorus member in Sweeney Todd with CCOC.
She was honored to be a part of The Atlanta Opera’s children show and first commissioned opera, Rabbit Tales as the main character- Teenchy Duck. She and the cast traveled an entire school year to performance halls around Georgia bringing light opera to the ears of many young students.
Elexa also has a love for painting and re-uses old sheet music for her own popular art pieces. Her business, Lexicon of Love Music Art has gone viral across the country. Creative Loafing Atlanta featured her work as the top 10 local artists in their 2018 gift guide and she most recently exhibited at the 2020 Broadway Con in New York City. She is an active mixed media artist in Georgia art festivals and multiple boutiques in the Atlanta area. You can find her work on Etsy now under Lexicon of Love Music Art.
Madrigal Singers Director
Tom FitzStephens joined Capitol City Opera as the Madrigal Singers Director in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Choral Music Education from The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and a Master of Music in Conducting from Michigan State University’s College of Music. He studied conducting with Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Dr. Sandra Snow, Dr. Jonathan Reed, and Dr. David Rayl, and voice with George Irving Shirley and Molly Fillmore.
Tom currently serves as Chorus Director at Lakeside High School in Atlanta, Georgia and is a full-time Music Education PhD student at Georgia State University. For four summers he served as a vocal technique and choir instructor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. Since 2012 he spends his summers as Vocal Music Director at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program at Berry College, working with Georgia’s most gifted high school students.
Tom maintains an active solo and choral singing schedule, which has included performances with choirs at regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association with the Atlanta Master Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Eric Nelson. Throughout his five years in Ann Arbor he performed principal roles and conducted productions with The University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society. He has performed with and directed the Madrigal Singers since 2012, and performed three times with Capitol City Opera, in On the Light Side (2013), The Abduction from the Seraglio (2015), and La Traviata (2018).