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BroadwayWorld announces CCOC's new Education Director, Elexa Bancroft

posted Aug 4, 2019, 6:00 PM by Courtney Justice   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 6:09 PM ]

The Board of Directors of Capitol City Opera Company (CCOC), the only opera company in the Southeast that helps local singers and artists establish their careers, has selected Elexa Bancroft to be the director of the Company's education and outreach programs.

As Education Director, Ms. Bancroft will produce 45-minute programs that introduce pre-K to 5th graders to the music and technical concepts of opera. She is also responsible for coordinating the tours of these programs to public settings that reach young audiences.

Besides making more operatic repertoire available for touring productions, she also plans to provide more opportunities for young singers to perform with the Company in recitals, at the popular Dinner and a Diva series, and at pop-up performances at museums, the beltline, and other unique Atlanta locations. She will be commissioning and workshopping new operas for young people to expose them to contemporary repertoire.

Elexa Bancroft holds a B.A. in Voice Performance from Florida State University and was a Master's Candidate in Voice Performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Elexa has performed regularly with Capitol City Opera, and was the principal role of Teenchy Duck in The Atlanta Opera's first commissioned opera, Rabbit Tales, based on the Br'er Rabbit stories by Joel Chandler Harris.

Ms. Bancroft is the co-founder of Atlanta Music Education. The studio of students performs at events all over the Atlanta-metro area. Elexa is a mentor and speaker at the Dekalb School of the Arts. She hosts the popular Kids Open Mics featured in Decatur Focus, The Decatur Dispatch and Tucker Times. Elexa also has a love for painting, and re-uses old sheet music to create own popular art pieces. She is an active mixed-media artist at Georgia art festivals, and most recently, BroadwayCon in New York City. You can find her work on Etsy.com. Elexa is an April 2019 Amber Grant recipient for female entrepreneurs, and is now a candidate for the annual $25,000 award.

Elexa has already started working for CCOC and is planning the 2019-2020 season. She is currently planning a princess and pirates-themed fundraiser on October 26, 2019. Details to be announced at a later date. To book this season's touring productions, A Seussome Twosome and Hansel and Gretel, please email elexa.bancroft@ccityopera.org. More information is available at ccityopera.org.

Broadway World previews "Man of La Mancha"

posted Jan 31, 2017, 8:10 AM by Catherine Giel   [ updated Jan 31, 2017, 8:13 AM ]

Capitol City Opera to 'Dream the Impossible Dream' with MAN OF LA MANCHACapitol City Opera Company (CCOC) will endeavor to "dream the impossible dream" with Man of La Mancha, the Tony Award-winning musical based on Cervantes' epic 17th-century novel, Don Quixote on Friday, March 24 at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 25 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 26 at 3 p.m. at Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University. Tickets are available online at CCITYOPERA.org.

Man of La Mancha was one of the first musicals to transform a piece of historical literature into a production for Broadway audiences. Winner of five Tony Awards, including "Best Musical," Man of La Mancha features such stirring songs as "It's All the Same," "Dulcinea," "I'm Only Thinking of Him," "Little Bird," and "The Impossible Dream."

Set in the context of the Spanish Inquisition, Man of La Mancha is presented as a play-within-a-play. Miguel de Cervantes, poet, playwright, and part-time actor, has been arrested, with his manservant, Sancho Panza, for staging a play that criticizes the Spanish Inquisition. Inside the huge dungeon, the other prisoners gang up on Cervantes, and begin a mock trial, with the intention of stealing or burning his possessions.

Together, they tell the story of the aged Alonso Quijana, who names himself Don Quixote, and begins an obsessive quest to attain an "impossible dream." Along the way, he defends his perfect lady, Dulcinea, and proves that an old man's belief can truly make him a knight.

True to its mission to provide Atlanta-area classically trained singers the opportunity perform on a professional level, Capitol City Opera's production features Jonathan Spuhler as Cervantes/Don Quixote, Daniel Weisman as Sancho, and Rachel Eve Holmes as Aldonza/Dulcinea, and a full cast of Atlanta-based performers. This production is directed by CCOC's Artistic Director Michael Nutter. Music Direction is by Catherine Giel. A five-piece chamber orchestra is conducted by Michael Giel.

Founder Donna Angel Wins International Opera Award

posted May 30, 2014, 11:05 AM by Catherine Giel   [ updated Jan 31, 2017, 8:11 AM ]

CAPITOL CITY OPERA company FOUNDER wins international lifetime achievement award


Donna Angel to be Honored at Opera Volunteers Conference

in San Francisco June 20


ATLANTA -- Capitol City Opera Company Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus Donna Angel will be given the Partners in Excellence Lifetime Award by Opera Volunteers International at their annual conference which will be held jointly with OPERA America in San Francisco in June.  This will be the first time the award has been given to an individual from Georgia.  Angel will receive the award at OVI’s Awards Dinner on Friday, June 20 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House.

With the Partners in Excellence Lifetime Award, Opera Volunteers International (OVI) honors individuals or support groups who have made outstanding contributions to their opera companies and their communities.  Angel, who founded Capitol City Opera Company (CCOC) in 1983, was nominated by the CCOC Board of Directors to recognize her exceptional dedication and singular vision in creating an opera company whose sole purpose is to champion Atlanta’s local opera talent.  Under Donna’s leadership, Capitol City Opera Company has provided a training ground for Atlanta’s young opera singers by creating opportunities for them to learn and perform repertoire and refine their vocal and acting skills on a professional level.


“For those of us involved in Capitol City Opera Company, we have long recognized Donna’s extraordinary achievements.  She has an unparalleled passion for nurturing opera talent, and has remained focused on that mission through Capitol City Opera Company for more than 30 years.  We are very happy to see her honored publicly for her work,” comments CCOC Board President Cory Colton.


Michael Nutter, who took over the artistic director reins from Angel in 2008, says, “I am so pleased to see Donna recognized for her unflagging commitment to educating young singers.  There are many singers enjoying successful careers today because of Donna.  In creating and dedicating herself to Capitol City Opera Company over the years, she has provided performance opportunities for Atlanta singers allowing them to take the next step toward their professional careers.”


“I am just thrilled,” comments Angel.  “Opera education has been my mainstay throughout my life.  I can’t envision myself doing anything else.  I am grateful to the CCOC Board of Directors for nominating me and to OVI for recognizing the hard work of opera volunteers.”


Atlanta Boy Choir Founder and Director Fletcher Wolfe, one of Angel’s many fans in Atlanta’s performing arts community, comments, “It is a real pleasure to learn that Donna will receive this award.  I have known Donna since she came to Atlanta a half century ago to sing in my opera company, The Atlanta Chamber Opera Society. Her Capitol City Opera Company has provided so many young singers the same opportunities she had experienced as well as given Atlanta some remarkable opera performances.  Donna and her late husband, Attorney Henry Angel, devoted their lives to the development of opera for the people, and she deserves the honor recognizing their commitment to opera in Atlanta.”



* * *




Donna Angel founded Capitol City Opera Company 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 National Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Goldovsky Opera, Northwestern Opera Theatre, Kennesaw Opera Theatre, New Orleans Opera, and the Atlanta Chamber Opera Society.


A graduate of Newcomb College in New Orleans, Donna received a master’s degree in voice from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She also studied at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and the Tanglewood Institute and Berkshires Festival in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Donna 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 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; and Founder and Artistic Director of Friends of Opera.

Donna also has taught in private studios in Lexington, Virginia; Greenville, South Carolina; and in metro Atlanta.  Donna 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 Audition. Her students have consistently placed tops in NATS, GMTA, Brevard Opera, Westminster Choir College, Goldovsky Competition, and McAlister Awards.

Sweeney Todd is a HIT!

posted Mar 13, 2014, 8:26 AM by Catherine Giel

Audiences and critics agree, Sweeney Todd is one of the most exciting productions Capitol City Opera has ever achieved. Check out some of the great features below:

Exciting coverage for La Boheme!

posted Nov 26, 2013, 1:51 PM by Catherine Giel   [ updated Nov 26, 2013, 1:58 PM ]

Capitol City Opera's Catherine and Michael Giel work together to make "La boheme" sing. Click the link to read more about their "melodious marriage" in the September/October edition of Simply Buckhead

A special thank you to WABE's Lois Reitzes and Scott Cassavant, and Atlanta Magazine's Betsy Riley for previewing Capitol City Opera's La boheme, opening Friday at Oglethorpe University's Conant Performing Arts Center.

Check out this World Journal 世界日報 profile on baritone Jinho Park, who will be one of the Marcellos in Capitol City Opera's upcoming production of La boheme, opening Friday night at Conant Center for the Performing arts at Oglethorpe UniversityRead it here! (You made need to use your browser's auto-translator). 

GA Voice: "The Secret Agent" shows this weekend at Conant Performing Arts Center

posted Nov 26, 2013, 1:47 PM by Catherine Giel   [ updated Nov 27, 2013, 8:11 AM ]

March 13, 2013

When capitol City Opera presents Its world premiere " The Secret Agent" this weekend, It does so with an openly gay cast member at its core - Chase Davidson.

An adaptation of the 1907 Joseph Conrad novel, "The Secret Agent" is set in 1930s London. It has a film noir flavor with espionage, secret agents, murder and betrayal. Davidson stars as Stevie, who is autistic and becomes the show's tragic hero.

"Stevie is the only innocent character in the whole op.era," Davidson says. "He is passed off as an idiot."

Back in that time, he says, medicine wasn't as advanced as it is today and autism was regarded as a medical disorder that couldn't be treated at all.

The adaptation is by composer Curtis Bryant, who is based in Atlanta and workshopped the piece locally before opening it. This is Davidson's second gig with capitol City Opera after
performing at one of their previous fundraisers. Although there are no gay themes to the show, he feels the gay community will enjoy the "beautiful music and costumes." 

Davidson is a rare counter-tenor, meaning that he is a male who sings falsetto. The performer admits there aren't many counter-tenors out there and audiences are often surprised
when they see one. "It's foreign to a lot of people," he says. ''They are not used to that coming from a man." Most counter-tenors are in their 20s, he says, and have become more relevant since the '90s. 

Davidson is involved with the Atlanta Opera Chorus, where he has been seen in operas such as "Carmen," ''The Golden Ticket" and "Don Giovanni." A few seasons back, he was part of the national tour of the gay-themed musical "Spring Awakening" that came through the Fox Theatre. It was a great experience. "I felt like a rock star," he says of the gig. As part of the swing and the understudy for two years, he could literally be called to do something new every night. Bringing "Awakening" to Atlanta was nice for him, in that he got to invite his grandmother - who got him interested In musical theater -to opening night.

Davidson was also in the cast of a reading of the play "8" last year at the 14th Street Playhouse, directed by Actor's Express' Freddie Ashley. Born in the area, he moved In 2004 to go to school at the Boston Conservatory. He also lived In New York for a time before moving back to Atlanta In 2010. Although he loved living In New York, making a living there was proving increasingly more difficult.

He is still young - 27 - and is considering his plans when ''The Secret Agent" is done. He is
considering applying for a performing job on a cruise ship. Being openly gay in the opera community has never been an issue for him. He calls it a warm and welcoming environment. 

"I think the opera world is the most open of the arts forms," he says. He has many gay colleagues working in theater or TV who feel they can't come out, but in the opera community, "people are very open, and no one cares."

Source: GAVoice

Creative Loafing: Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent" becomes a world premiere opera

posted Nov 26, 2013, 1:31 PM by Catherine Giel   [ updated Nov 27, 2013, 8:11 AM ]

March 12, 2013

Joseph Conrad's 1907 novel "The Secret Agent" has just about everything you'd ever want to put in an opera: intrigue, romance, violence, suspicion, guilt, murder, suicide. The list goes on, but let's just say it has all the bases covered.

Atlanta composed Curtis Bryant has, in fact, turned the 1907 novel about a group of anarchists plotting to blow up the Greenwich Observatory into a full-length opera, and the work will have its world premiere this weekend, March 15-17, at Oglethorpe's Conant Center for the Performing Arts in a production by Atlanta's Capitol City Opera. We caught up with tenor Timothy Miller, who plays the anarchist Alexander Ossipon, so he could act as our super-secret undercover informant and tell us all about the new work. 

For those of us who aren't familiar 
with the novel, what's the story of "The Secret Agent"?
It's an interesting story in that there are tons of different plotlines, as with any opera. It starts with a conspiracy to blow up the Observatory Tower. The main character, Verloc, played by baritone Wade Thomas, is charged with the task to blow 'UP the tower. There's this group of anarchists: There's Verloc; there's Yundt the munitions expert; there's the feminist Michaelis; and there's me, Alexander, who's a pamphlet writer. The villain Vladimir is Verloc's source at the embassy who he gets his orders from. We each have our own way of trying to create change. I'm trying to "culture the mob," while Yundt is all about going after those in power by blowing things up. Yundt supplies the bomb, and then Verloc comes up with the plan to have his brother-in-law, Stevie, an autistic teenager played by countertenor Chase Davidson, deliver the bomb to the clock tower. But Stevie trips over a tree root and blows himself up. So now, Verloc has blown up his brother-in-law, and he has to keep this from his wife Winnie, and he's being followed by a detective, Inspector Heat, trying to piece together what happened at the clock tower and who Verloc's contact is at the embassy.

How would you describe the music In the work?
We talk a lot in opera about things that we recognize, things that pop out to a listener, especially with composers like Wagner, who's very well-known for his leitmotifs, associating every character with a particular theme. In this piece, composer Curtis Bryant has done a wonderful job of associating characters with themes, and all 0f these themes come back during the opera. Verloc has his theme, the anarchists have their theme, Inspector Heat has a very distinct theme. That's one of the wonderful things about it: Once you hear that music, you know who's coming. The thematic material that's associated with each character is something really distinct and really wonderful. There are also pieces that are unexpected . There are things that people will start to recognize, and things people will leave the show humming. That's what you want. 

As an opera singer, you're used to singing the work of dead composers, so it must be quite a change working with a living composer who's right there to answer any questions you have.
This is actually my second time working with a livi'ng composer. I performed in a work called "The Life and Times of Malcolm X" by Anthony Davis on the West Coast a few years ago. Just like Curtis, he was very involved in the process. I played Street, the character who introduced Malcolm to the nightlife. I showed him the ropes and taught him the ways of the street. lfs the part of Malcolm's life where he transitioned into .. Detroit Red, .. as they called him. To have the chance to work with someone who's still alive and still composing, ifs invaluable. For instance, there's a scene in which I walk into Verloc's home and I see him on the couch. I say, "Blood! Oh my God, she's killed him!" But I don't think we're going to have a blood pack, it just seemed too messy. I came up with the idea: Why doesn't Winnie just leave the compass she's stabbed Verloc with on stage near the couch and I'll trip over it and pick it up? Curtis was like, "That's perfect!"

Any favorite moments from the new work? Do you have a favorite aria?
I enjoy my aria because it's the only romantic moment in the show. Nobody expects the anarchist to be secretly searching for love, which is essentially what I'm doing. 

You're a busy guy right now. You're preparing for the world premiere of "The Secret Agent" this weekend, amd then next weekend you'll be helping to provide the music for the world premiere of "Hippodrome" by Atlanta dance company gloATL at the Goat Farm. What exactly will you be doing in that show?
We're singing the music of Arvo Part, who's known for his sacred repertoire and for coming up with his own way of looking at music, called tintinnabulation. It comes from the Latin word for bell, and it's how he views the chords in music. He's a modern composer, but the almost chant-like style of composing takes you back to early church music. lt's very simple, yet it can be very expressive. The first show I did with Lauri [Lauri Stallings, gloATL founder and artistic director] was at 54 Columns last summer. It was exciting for us because we as singers don't often exercise that amount of creativity. What we do is scripted, but ifs fantastic to be able to work with someone who has that much creative liberty. To have the audience that close to you, right there involved in the show, it was something that I'm not used to at all, but it was very powerful for the audience and for us. lt's the same thing I teach my students. When we do it right, the audience feels what we feel, they feel those vibrations. To have them that close, to have them experiencing that with us, is certainly a treat.

Tenor Timothy Miller performs in the Capitol City Opera's world premiere production of Curtis
Bryant's "The Secret Agent" at the Conant Center for Performing Arts at Oglethorpe University,
March 15-17.

AJC: Capitol City Opera hits milestone with premiere of The Secret Agent

posted Nov 26, 2013, 1:20 PM by Catherine Giel   [ updated Nov 27, 2013, 8:12 AM ]

March 11, 2013
By JAMES L. Paulk

Full-scale opera rprmieres are almost nonexistent in Atlanta. For that reason alone, the opening of "The Secret Agent," to be presented by Capitol City Opera starting Friday, is something to celebrate.

With a score by Atlanta composer Curtis Bryant and a libretto by New York forensic psychiatrist Allen Reichman, the opera is based on the 1907 Joseph Conrad novel of the same name. It's the story of an English anarchist, Verloc, whose job is to organize terrorist activities, and it resonates strongly in the post 9/11 age.

The opera has been updated to the 20th century and moves between Verloc's terrorist activities and his family live, involving his wife (who is clueless about his work), his mother-in-law and his autistic nephew. Verloc's attempt to use his nephew to plant a bomb goes awry, and the nephew is killed. When his wide discovers the truth, she kills Verloc. For the mostly male cast, which also includes Verloc's spy ring and those tracking him down, Bryant has employed a full range of voices.

"I'm a tonal composer," Bryant said. "My music is easy to digest,"

He has working extensively, writing for film, chamber groups, choral ensembles and orchestra, but this is his second opera. His first," Zabette," was performed at the Rialto Theater by Georgia State University and excerpted at New York's Center for Contemporary Opera. Ironically, the center recently presented another version of "The Secret Agent" by composed Michael Dellaira. Despite the common source, the two operas are quite different. [Disclaimer: The writer is a former member of the center's board.]

After Reichman wrote the libretto, he searched for a composer. He contacted former soprano Beverly Sills, then the head of the New York City Opera. This contact lef to Bryant, who has compete in a City Opera program. Ultimately, Reichman chose Bryant, and the work began. The score was complete din 2007 and given an abbreviated "workshop" production at Georgia State. Then Bryant approached the team at Capitol City Opera, which is Atlanta's irrepressible and irreplaceable small opera company. With a tiny budget, it has somehow managed to present dozens of operas, most of them from the 20th century. It serves as a springboard for young local professional singers, many of whom have gone on to important careers.

"Our primary mission is to support local artists," said Michael Nutter, the company's artistic director.

The company is one of the last anywhere to sing almost everything in English. And its education programs go into schools all over the state "almost daily," Nutter said.

The company brought to Atlanta Andre Previn's "A Streetcar Named Desire," Samuel Barber's "Vanessa," and a host of works by Gian Carlo Menotti. One thing it has never done is a world premiere. Nutter and Donna Angel, the company's founder, knew Bryant's work and eventually agreed to do one, but it took several years to make it all happen.

"The Secret Agent" will open Friday at Oglethorpe University's Conant Center." The company usually has only piano for music. The last opera with an orchestra was Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" in 2008. 

Since then, "my credit cards were too full," Nutter said. But "Secret Agent" will have a 17-piece orchestra conducted by Michael Giel, as well as a fully realized production, directed by Nutter, whose primary experience has been as a stage director. Catherine Giel is music director. It's an important milestone for the company and for Atlanta. 

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