The Artistic Team
EXECUTIVE & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
The company was founded by Claire DiVizio, who now acts as Executive & Artistic Director. Claire began their training in music as a performer, and during their undergraduate work at the University of Michigan, discovered a particular interest in contemporary music and collaborating with living composers. Since then, as a singer they have premiered more than twenty works for the voice, including creating seven opera roles, and performed countless other existing works by living composers, both emerging and established. Claire's creation of Thompson Street Opera Company was born out of the desire to give new operas the same love, care, and respect that they gave the works as a performer.
Claire's varied background has been a great asset to the growth of the company. With training in piano and violin as well as voice, Claire comes to music with a multi-level approach that serves them well in the appraisal of new works. They have worked as an arts administrator on the Executive Board of the University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society, as a professional costumer at Michigan Opera Theatre, as a makeup artist apprentice to Dawn Rivard, as a set painter with the University of Michigan Productions shop, and as production manager with St. Petersburg Opera Company in Florida. Claire has also acted as a stage director for productions of Handel's Semele and Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado, in addition to their work as a director on five productions with Thompson Street Opera Company.
Alexandra Enyart is a rising orchestra and opera conductor praised for her musical finesse and technical grace. Since moving to Chicago in August of 2017 Alexandra has shot to prominence serving primarily as Music Director of Thompson Street Opera Company as well as guest conducting for Chicago Fringe Opera, Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium, and Another Voice Collaborative. Alexandra’s work is emerging on a national level having been invited to work with Orchestra Enigmatic, Bay Chamber Concerts, and Opera Columbus just this season as a guest conductor. In addition to all of this Alexandra was invited to participate in Chicago Sinfonietta’s Project Inclusion as their first transgender conductor.
Alexandra is as comfortable on the podium as she is in the opera pit having made her international debut in Tomsk Russia with the Tomsk Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016 while finishing her Master’s in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Louisville. At the same time she also worked as the apprentice conductor with the Louisville Orchestra and Kentucky Opera as well as the Assistant Conductor for the Louisville Youth Orchestra. In 2017 Alexandra won the CODA conducting competition and was invited to work with Anthony Maeillo on La Gazza Ladra as a result. In 2018 Alexandra won the CCM Mozart Overture Competition. In 2019 Alexandra was nominated for the prestigious 3arts award in the field of music. Alexandra works as a champion of new music and helped to bring As One, When Adonis Calls, Patience and Sarah to Chicago, among many others. She also champions young singers and advocates for every voice in her work with Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium which includes productions of La finta giardiniera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and L’elisir d’amore with many more to come!
As a transgender conductor Alexandra strives to create a more equitable and diverse musical world. As such she has successfully chartered “Faulty Systems”, an annual program in which activists and artists come together to share stories of underrepresented communities or ideas through music, speech, poetry, dance and other mediums. Alexandra also helped to launch the Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium’s sing–thru program, which functions to create an accessible space for young artists to experiment with musical styles and traditions following their education. You can also find Alexandra working with ResonaTe an all transgender choir with a mission to foster acceptance of all voices and identities. Alexandra believes that to conduct is an honor and privilege, and continues to work to support and strengthen the musical community she is privileged to be a part of.
Robert Alvarado Switala
Robert Switala began his musical studies at age 6 on violin and began playing viola at 14. In 2006, he appeared on the NPR radio show “From the Top”, as well as the PBS television show, “From the Top: Live at Carnegie Hall”. Robert was awarded 1st prize at the 2007 National SPHINX Competition and has soloed with the SMU, TCU, Florida, New World, Hartford, Colorado, Nashville and Fort Worth Symphony orchestras. He is a recipient of the 2008 Texas Young Masters Grant and the 2009 Bayard H. Friedman Scholarship.
He has studied with Itzhak Perlman, Paul Kantor, and Jan Sloman and has had master classes with Ani Kavafian, Stephanie Chase, Elmar Oliveira, Rudolf Koelman, Shlomo Mintz, Donald Weilerstein, Michael Tree, Patinka Kopec, Pinkas Zukerman, James Dunham, Joel Krosnick, Ronald Copes, Robert Macdonald, Robert Vernon, Barbara Westphal and Midori Goto. As an active chamber musician, he has attended numerous chamber festivals, including Perlman, Chautauqua, Keshet Eilon, Mimir, Sarasota and Kneisel Hall music festivals at which he has worked with numerous members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Cavani, Cleveland, and Takacs string quartets.
Formerly first violin of the El Paso and Las Cruces symphony orchestras, Robert is now Principal Viola of the SPHINX Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Concertmaster for the Thompson Street Opera Company, and faculty at the Des Plaines School of Music. He studied under Almita and Roland Vamos at Roosevelt University.