Soprano Rochelle Bard has been described as an ‘exquisite singing actress.' Specializing in bel canto and Verdi repertoire, Ms. Bard recently made her debut in the title role of Norma with Knoxville Opera, for which critics proclaimed her: 'beautifully constructed and achingly gorgeous delivery, at times soft as a whisper, and at others thrilling in its altitude…she carried off the dramatic contrast between the grandeur
of confident matriarchal strength and the rage of a spurned woman
with as much believability as can be wrung out of the role.'
The 2016/2017 seasons begins with the ruthless Lady Macbeth in Macbeth in Vermont, then Micaëla in Carmen in Connecticut, the title role in Tosca with MidAtlantic Opera in NJ, and the ill-fated queen in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda with Knoxville Opera. For her debut as Lady Macbeth, critics expressed: 'Her voice is rich and engaging, she is a wonder...This Lord and Lady engage each other with a sparkling intimacy that makes their 'road to hell' a very exciting one.'
The 2014/15 season included her debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore with Knoxville Opera, Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux with the Opera Orchestra of New York, as the cover for Ms. Mariella Devia, and the title role of Tosca with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. She performed Violetta in La Traviata twice this season with Shreveport Opera, under the baton of Joe Illick and directed by Bill Florescu, and the Opera Company of Middlebury. In Il Trovatore, 'Bard brings a genuineness and confidence to the roles she sings, and in the case of Leonora, an intelligent and complex portrayal of substance. She has a winning combination of natural dramatic ability and captiving coloratura.'
On the concert stage, Ms. Bard made her mainstage Carnegie Hall debut as the soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C and Mozart’s Vespers, and returns to Carnegie as a soloist with MidAtlantic Opera this fall. She performed a concert of arias with the Opera Orchestra of New York and maestro Eve Queler at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. She has been recognized with prestigious awards and grants from the Classical Singer Competition, Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, George London Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards (San Francisco and Boston), the Seoul International Competition, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition.
Ms. Bard's recent performances include the four heroines Olympia/ Antonia/ Giulietta/ Stella in Les Contes d'Hoffmann with West Bay Opera, Magda in La Rondine with Opera Tampa with Maestro Anton Coppola, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Idaho, West Bay Opera and Opera San Jose, the title role in The Merry Widow with Opera Tampa, Utah Festival Opera, New England Light Opera, Altamura Center for the Arts, and St. Petersburg Opera, Mary Willis in Carlisle Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree with Sugar Creek Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Utah Festival Opera, Violetta in La Traviata with Music by the Lake and Opera San Jose, Musetta in La Boheme with Sacramento Opera, Gilda in Rigoletto with Rockland Opera, Opera San Jose and Cape Cod Opera, Micaëla in Carmen with Ash Lawn Opera, and the Foreign Princess in Rusalka with Boston Lyric Opera, for which Opera News deemed her: ‘a deliciously evil enchantress.’
Previously an Artist in Residence with Opera San José, Ms. Bard performed Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, and Juliette in Roméo et Juliette. Ms. Bard was also engaged as a Studio Artist with Baltimore Opera, where she sang Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore, Barbarina and Countess (cover) in Le Nozze di Figaro, and covered Antonia and Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. As a fellow at Tanglewood, Ms. Bard created the role of Juana in the world premiere opera Rage d’Amours, commissioned by the Boston Symphony.
Described as 'stunningly poignant' as Violetta in La Traviata, critics declared ‘Bard became Violetta by not only convincing acting, she incorporated the character and her joys and woes into her vocal delivery, much in the way that made Maria Callas a legend.’
As Lucia di Lammermoor, ‘Bard is equipped with every gem in the coloratura jewel-box: staccato leaps, diamond-like trills, and sculpted dynamic lines. Combine this with the insane-childlike persona and you have an entire audience holding its breath.’ The San Francisco Chronicle acclaimed, ‘Her account of the famous final mad scene was a knockout - fluid, precisely etched and marked by a haunting sense of vulnerability.’
As four heroines in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, ‘Bard’s transformative ability is uncanny — I had to double check the program to make sure that they were all the same woman. Her appearance, her acting and singing were adjusted, in each case resulting in an astonishing display of versatility.’
A recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Music from her alma mater, The College of the Holy Cross, and a Master’s Degree in voice from the New England Conservatory, Ms. Bard is a sought-after concert artist as well. Recent appearances include the Mozart Requiem with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Beethoven’s 9th with the Wilmington Symphony and Cambridge Symphony, the Messiah with the Hartford Symphony, Rachmaninoff Vocalise, Exsultate Jubilate, Carmina Burana, Lord Nelson Mass, Elijah, Bachianas Brasileiras, Poulenc Gloria, Beethoven Mass in C, and the Brahms Requiem.