CLARE McCaldin has a passion for stories so she has combined her singing and acting into a theatre show entitled The Complete Heroine.

The mezzo soprano will be bringing to life such characters as Mignon, Mary Queen of Scots, Ophelia, the Blessed Virgin and the dark and powerful Lady Macbeth, when she comes to Swindon on Saturday, December 9.

When she sings Clare combines the drama and the music into her own style of narrative. She is accompanied by Swindon’s own concert pianist Paul Turner.

Clare and Paul have known each other for a number of years and worked together frequently, but Clare’s theatre show came from an idea that sprang up when they were performing Haydn’s London Ladies.

“The light bulb moment came over one song in that. It made me seek out what else there is for literature’s tragic heroines,” said Clare.

Kennst Du Das Land was the song featuring Mignon, a character appearing in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s writings. She was the subject of several lieder by Franz Schubert.

“It was her story that inspired, it was the first song of a group and the song lyrics were ready made. I looked at various composers for heroines real or imagined. The Schumann piece is based on a true person, Mary Queen of Scots, using her own text,” said Clare.

“Lady Macbeth is all dark shades, a complicated character, multi layered. The show took loads of stage work, a mini opera.”

Clare grew up surrounded by music, her mother was a keen amateur musician and her father, originally a chemist, came to music professionally when he was in his thirties.

“He did music making on the side until he realised there was something lacking. I did something similar so I have had real support, so many musicians struggle without parental support,” said Clare, who wasn’t comfortable at school preferring the company of her chickens and playing her music.

She became a choral scholar at Clare College Cambridge while also studying Modern Languages and History of Art. She left university and worked in advertising and arts administration.

“I wasn’t interested in becoming a singer but there was something missing for me too. It was clear, once I had owned up to myself, that I needed music.

“I had to find a teacher and work out a training programme myself. Like my father, at the beginning I had another job to sustain me.

“I cross faded gradually, choosing my own tempo,” she said.

Her first big break was with the Royal Opera House Extra Chorus and from there she went on to work with the BBC Singers, a specialist radio choir for BBC Radio 3.

She has performed solos for the Proms in 2012 and sung at the Edinburgh International Festival. She also worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the choir of King’s College, The Northern Chamber Orchestra and she has netted various opera roles.

“I have been lucky, I have had some lovely jobs,” she said.

And now Clare is giving some of that luck back by helping new artists through her own company, McCaldin Arts.

“It’s nice to run my own show and choose the people to work with. I like to make a contribution to the next generation, work with directors, lighting designers, composers.

“I work at King’s College Cambridge with composition students who are waiting for a voice, trying to find their muse,” said Clare.

Clare and Paul perform The Complete Heroine as part of the Swindon Recital Series at the Arts Centre, Devizes Road, in Old Town from 7.30pm with a pre-concert ‘in conversation with’ from 6.45pm. Tickets are £15, £12.50 concessions, students £2.50 and under 14s free from - Flicky Harrison