Press

McNeff delivers an unpredictable yet instantly appealing score… Andy Rashleigh’s libretto is allusive and witty… All is delivered by catty, horny McCaldin, all with a sheen of barmy. It’s a far better performance than we’re entitled to from someone who can also sing.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Kieron Quirke on Vivienne for The Evening Standard

Clare McCaldin performed fantastically… It’s rare that a one-woman show can be so clever and funny without dragging towards the end

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Kate Mason on Vivienne for One Stop Arts

<name=”coghlan”>This year Tête à Tête has found a treasure in Vivienne – a monologue-opera for mezzo and piano by Stephen McNeff… The work was elegantly performed by Clare McCaldin and pianist Elizabeth Burgess and deserves a rich concert life after this.

Alexandra Coghlan on Vivienne for The New Statesman (Sept 2013 print edition)

The work is perhaps lighter than McCaldin and McNeff’s previous collaboration, A Voice of One Delight… But McNeff and McCaldin built the piece into a powerful conclusion as we gradually left popular music behind… McCaldin gave a remarkable performance. Remarkable perhaps because in its complete identification with Vivienne and its intensity she made you forget that this was sung at all and the work became simply drama of the most involving kind.

Robert Hugill of Planet Hugill, on Vivienne

brilliantly backlit cameos of sand and tide, shore and slimy estuary… sung here by with real commitment and imagination.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Hilary Finch on Madrigali dell’Estate for BBC Music Magazine, July 2013

McCaldin is superb with wonderful control and accuracy… (her) upper mezzo range is terrific… superbly accomplished singing.

The Classical Reviewer on Madrigali dell’Estate, June 2013

This is a daring and striking disc, wonderfully enterprising in its repertoire and superb in execution. For anyone interested in modern song-writing, the disc is a must.

Robert Hugill, of Planet Hugill March 2013, on Madrigali dell’Estate

The string trio provide shimmering scene-setting, over which McCaldin’s smooth, sustained vocal lines sail. There is less of the jerky, recitative here, with more expressive and melismatic phrases, giving McCaldin’s full voice more chance to bloom…I really enjoyed this disc, and it provides a great showcase for both singer and composer.

Nick Boston, of Nick’s Classical Notes March 2013, reviewing Madrigali dell’Estate

Clare McCaldin featured as both narra­tor and singer, together with flautist Kathryn Thomas (doubling on alto flute and piccolo), violist Sarah-Jane Bradley and harpist Suzanne Willison-Kawalec under Vass’s direction in the world premiere of Stephen McNeff’s A Voice of One Delight, a ‘monologue for voice and chamber ensemble’. Lasting 25 minutes, this ambitious piece is based on poems by Shelley and the account of his death by the mysterious Jane Williams who he fell in love with during the last months before his death in Italy. McCaldin’s strong presence benefitted the work enormously… At its most com­municative when least striving for effect, A Voice of One Delight was crowned by the poignancy of its hushed closing pages with a lyrical solo line dap­pled by touches of instrumental colour. McNeff is clearly a man of the theatre and some of the inherently dramatic gestures in his new mono­logue would perhaps have achieved greater clarity if the performance had taken place in a venue able to accommodate comfortably a semi-staging of the work.

Paul Conway, Tempo January 2011, On the 2010 Presteigne Festival performance