As the title role in Maria Stuarda with Knoxville Opera:
As the title role in Maria Stuarda, ‘Bard’s performance exemplified the gentle nuance and outward clarity of a heroine in true bel canto style, while reserving startling power and strength for the inevitable conflict. Although Bard’s performances have impressed in the past, this performance revealed a leading lyrical edge to her voice that is not only gorgeously crystalline but also has stunning depth. In her confrontation scene with Elizabeth, Bard’s dramatic power emerged in the conclusion of Act I as
she hurls a “vil bastarda” at Elizabeth as if it were a dagger.’
As soloist with Knoxville Opera for their 40th Anniversary Gala Concert:
...Of course, Bard, Daniel, and Bearden were seen and heard last spring in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (Mary Queen of Scots)—and the evening concluded with the infamous and heated Confrontation Scene from that opera. Before that, though, came a smorgasbord of works, carefully chosen to showcase the singers, as well as to delight the audience with both the familiar and the less so. In the rare category came “Esprits de l’air” from Massenet’s Esclarmonde, featuring Ms. Bard and Ms. Daniel.
Bard and Daniel were stunning in “Alle più care immagini” from Rossini’s Semiramide, and each had individual arias...Ms. Bard in an exquisitely gorgeous “Io son l’umile ancella” from Francesco Cilèa’s Adrianna Lecouvreur. Also a highlight among highlights was Bard, Daniel, and Short in “Oh! Di qual sei tu vittima” from Bellini’s Norma, a work KO performed in 2014 with Bard in the title role.
On the off-chance that any of the audience left the Bijou unsure of the amazing evening they had witnessed, I can relate the words of a certain tuxedo-clad gentleman who grabbed my arm and proclaimed “Now THAT was an ‘eff-ing’ great concert!”
As Lady Macbeth, in Verdi's Macbeth with Opera Company of Middlebury:
'A dark and beautiful Macbeth soars'
It is said that “casting is everything” and in the case of “Macbeth,” the two principals are often cast as, say, “Trophy Wife and Fat, Old, Impotent Husband” or “Shrewish Wife from Hell with Milquetoast Spouse” or sometimes just as two very young or very old characters using sex or fear of their mortality to achieve their goals. Joshua Jeremiah and Rochelle Bard are none of that. Rather, they seem like a nice young couple who stumble upon a seemingly golden opportunity to suddenly and easily advance all their latent and not so latent ambitions. And neither can resist. Their “conversations” often take place on a marvelous bed, front and center, solidifying our perception of them as partners in crime, each helping the other down the slippery slope of decency.
Ms. Bard has an amazing voice and a great stage presence. She looks like the girl next door, if, in fact, you happened to live next door to a very beautiful girl with an incredible vocal range. That sweet appearance makes her most interesting to watch as her intense ambitions to the throne are awakened.
Her voice is rich and engaging, she is a wonder.
Mr. Jeremiah has an equally marvelous voice and he gives a nuanced, fascinating performance as a conflicted Macbeth. He, again, is also a true singer-actor,
bringing a vitality and physicality to the role that is a delight to watch. This Lord and Lady Macbeth engage each other with a sparkling intimacy that makes their
“road to hell” a very engaging one. -Nancy Maxwell, Addison County Independent
As Leonore in Il Trovatore with Knoxville Opera:
Returning to KO after performing the title role in last season’s Norma was
Rochelle Bard, a coloratura soprano who has been feasting on top bel canto roles of late. That glorious flexibility and edge served her well as Leonora, a lady in waiting for the Princess of Aragon and love interest of Manrico. Bard brings a genuineness and confidence to the roles she sings, and, in the case of Leonora, an intelligent
and complex portrayal of substance.
This seemingly natural dramatic ability
combined with her captivating coloratura maintained her position as an
equal partner in the foursome. -Alan Sherrod, Knoxville Mercury
As Violetta in La Traviata with Opera Company of Middlebury:
Opera Company of Middlebury presented its “concert version” of Verdi’s “La Traviata”, a version that packed more wallop than most fully staged productions. (This afternoon’s second and final performance is sold out, as was Friday’s.) Setting the action in front of the orchestra gave the singers a more direct relationship with the audience. Placing the singers in front the orchestra, deftly conducted by music director Emmanuel Plasson, also gave it an intimate feel musically. It was very direct musical theater.
And musical theater is what soprano Rochelle Bard, who played Violetta, is all about. 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.
Jim Lowe, Vermont Today
As the title role in Norma with Knoxville Opera:
Knoxville Opera Raises the Bar Again With 'Norma''s High-Flying Vocal Performances
There’s been so much bar-raising done over the last few years in Knoxville Opera productions that one might assume—short of going broke booking big-name singers and acquiring expensive, original sets—that there would be little more that is possible under the circumstances. However, quite the contrary, it seems—the company’s Rossini Festival production of Bellini’s Norma last weekend pushed the vocal performance bar to a new lofty level as soprano Rochelle Bard and mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges set the Tennessee Theatre stage on fire in the opera’s
two essential roles.
Bard was magnificent in her debut as the chief Druid priestess, Norma, handling the visceral lows with richness and intent and the highs with confidence wrapped in a tender but brilliant softness. Equally important, 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.
Although one expects great things from Norma’s Act I aria, “Casta diva,” Bard surprised even me with a beautifully constructed and achingly gorgeous delivery, at times soft as a whisper, and at others thrilling in its altitude. Her ability with coloratura details ranged from enticing to lyrical, without a hint of ostentation so common in divas of yore. Clearly, this should be the first of many Normas for Bard. Alan Sherrod, Metro Pulse Magazine
'Heroine wows in Norma'
When Rochelle Bard, as the title character in Knoxville Opera's current production of Vincenzo Bellini's 1831 trageia lirica opera 'Norma,' first walks onstage and begins to sing, it makes perfect sense why the Roman rulers of Gaul chose to keep the Druids under control by taking Norma captive.
In Bard's physical presence and wonderful singing, she is a commanding figure. 'Norma' is the perfect example of the bel canto tradition. Singing one of the most difficult roles in opera because of the demands of its vocal range and emotional depth, Bard's Norma dominates the stage.
Bard takes firm hold of heart strings. But when her unpardonable act excites the Druides to rebel against the Romans, leading to Norma and Pollione's death, it hardly seems a victory for anyone.
Harold Duckett, Knoxville News Sentinel
As the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with West Bay Opera:
'A Mad, Compelling Lucia'
Lucia di Lammermoor demands a fine soprano. She is central to four of the
opera’s six scenes. In its performance Friday, West Bay Opera found its tragic heroine in Rochelle Bard, who offers an appealing, tonally balanced voice with
rich texture, yet the flexibility to shape melting phrases and toss off gracious trills.
She did not merely aim at show-stopping high notes. Rather, she compellingly revealed a trapped young woman whose attempts to please everyone wreak destruction. Even at close range in Palo Alto’s Lucie Stern Theater, Bard brought
the oddly contradictory Lucia to convincing life.
The audience greeted this Lucia with appropriate enthusiasm, extending a
warm ovation, above all, to Rochelle Bard, the star of the evening.
John Bender,San Francisco Classical Voice
One of the more indelible opera experiences I’ve ever had was watching soprano Rochelle Bard perform the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera San Jose. Her Sybil-like portrayal of the mad scene – changing expressions and moods every few seconds to reflect the character’s inner chaos – was so powerful that I used it later for the diva-protagonist of my opera novel.
I had a chance this Friday to watch Bard reprise the role, and it’s fascinating to see how she’s changed her approach. Her present Lucia evokes those creepy children who are always popping up in horror movies, singing some sort of nursery rhyme. Bard wanders blood-stained through the shocked wedding guests, reminiscing about her sweet romance with Edgardo, and even giggles when she discovers the flute-bird who agrees to sing along with her.
The approach shed some new angles on the scene, whose playful, decorative music is eerily out of place, given the homicidal context. Another mesmerizing element is the use of so much stark silence, which offers a sonic playground to the right soprano. And certainly, Bard is that soprano, equipped with every gem in the coloratura jewel-box: staccato leaps, diamond-like trills, sculpted dynamic lines, and a buoyant, silvery tone with a perfect vibrato. Combine this with the insane-child persona and you have an entire audience holding its breath.
Michael J. Vaughn, Operaville
'The madwoman of Lammermoor
Soprano Rochelle Bard powers West Bay Opera production with
remarkable range and a gripping mad scene'
Opera 101: If you fall in love and then see the ghost of someone who was stabbed
to death, your romance probably isn’t going to end well. Especially if you have a bloody nightgown waiting in your dressing room for you to wear in Act III.
And yet, on opening night at West Bay Opera, we still sort of rooted for Lucia Ashton. Soprano Rochelle Bard sang her first scene so sweetly, with such hopeful eyes, that we thought maybe, just this once, true love could win out over Scottish clan warfare. Well. It’s nice to dream...
Bard carries West Bay’s production beautifully. Hers is a voice of remarkable
range and life, equally at home in the heights and in the loving low notes. Lucia’s
mad scene was difficult to look away from, as much as you might have wanted to.
Bard pulled it off with conviction, auburn hair wild and reddened hands clutching sad, wilted flowers. by Rebecca Wallace, Palo Alto Weekly
As Olympia/Antonia/Giulietta/Stella in Les Contes d'Hoffmann
with West Bay Opera:
All four women were played by Soprano Rochelle Bard, who was able to switch characters seamlessly. As the robot, she was hilarious and nailed the high notes in the famous automaton aria. As the sad, dying singer she was unrecognizable from before, going from funny to lamenting. Her third metamorphosis was downright frightening: the sweet girl from the previous act was now a malicious femme fatale. 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 (kudos to the makeup people and to costume designer Abra Berman) and her acting and singing were adjusted, in each case resulting in an astonishing display of versatility.
Be'eri Moalem, San Francisco Classical Voice
Singing all four of Hoffmann's major female roles, Rochelle Bard looked delightfully
doll-perfect in costume designer Abra Berman's red and white bowed confection for Olympia, and she sang with obvious delight. Disturbingly childlike, her coloratura
was spot-on, with her final high E-flat the largest, roundest and most healthy sound
in her arsenal. Remarkably, she then filled out her tone to deliver, as Antonia, a most moving “Elle a fui, la tourterelle” and prove herself an impressively versatile artist.
Jason Victor Serinus, Opera News
…Those four roles were all sung by Rochelle Bard in a tour de force that stretched from the sweet clarity of high coloratura to a toothsome lyric soprano. Matching that with acting was almost tougher. As Olympia, she had to embody innocence with the jerky motions of a mechanical doll, performing the famous “Les Oiseaux dans les Charmilles,” the Doll Song, with gorgeous high notes and creepy lifelessness. And as Antonia, she sang the role of a girl who chooses artistic passion even if it kills her… and the Devil makes sure it does! Then as Giulietta, she is a bordello madam with a penchant for deceit.
Adam Broner, Repeat Performances
As Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Utah Festival Opera:
As the outraged Donna Anna, Bard sang beautifully, with honed technique, legato phrasing and elegant tone.
by Robert Coleman, The Salt Lake Tribune
Stealing the scenes in which she performs, however, is Rochelle Bard, who portrays Donna Anna. From first appearance to her last, Bard is passionate and emotional and her soprano is full of pain and power. She is a heart-felt delight every time she opens her mouth. Her dynamics are particularly outstanding, from the softest whisper of pain to a strong declaration of revenge. She becomes the strength of the production.
by Jay Wamsley, USU Statesman
Womack (Don Giovanni) is fortunate to play opposite two gifted sopranos as leading ladies, Eleni Calenos as the love-struck Donna Elvira and Rochelle Bard as the vengeful Donna Anna. Bard has the most vocally challenging role in "Don Giovanni," particularly in the arias Or sai chi l'onore and Non mi dir. But she hits all the high notes with both gusto and heartfelt emotion.
by Charlie Schill, Cache Magazine
As Madga in La Rondine with Opera Tampa:
Rochelle Bard is playing Magda for the first time, and she is ravishing in
"Chi il bel sogno," bringing color and tonal security to the shimmering high notes
of the signature aria. Bard is a pleasure to hear.
by John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times
Rochelle Bard’s glorious (and might I add sensual) voice was fully warm tone on the bottom, all the way up to an amazingly light and heavenly spinning tone on the top. In fact, during her first aria in Act I, it seemed as if the entire theater was holding it’s breath. As if breathing would wake us up from this dream and disturb the effortless tones that Ms. Bard was sending out, floating up into the stratosphere.
As Violetta in La Traviata with Music by the Lake:
So how went the opera? Extremely well. The evening’s Violetta, Rochelle Bard, truly lived up to her billing as a great young “singing actress.” Her death scene in
Act III was right on the money, almost having the audience scream out “No. No.
She truly is too young to die!”
Jim Edwards, Chicago Tribune Local Edition
The cast was a vocally outstanding one. Rochelle Bard is a lovely woman and a
fine actress. Her soprano voice could handle well the juxtaposition of dramatic
and lyric singing that the role of Violetta demands.
John Barker, The Well-Tempered Word Press
In Concert with baritone Kenneth Mattice with Opera Idaho:
'Singers Rochelle Bard and Ken Mattice sparkled...'
She dazzled in the mad scene from “Dinorah,” and charmed in her rendition
of Cole Porter’s humorous “The Physician.” Bard made a luscious and
passionate Thais, and along with Mattice closed the first half with a
riveting performance of the opera’s finale duet that ends with her death,
bringing the audience to its feet before intermission.
by Dana Oland, Idaho Statesman
As Musetta in La Boheme with Sacramento Opera:
Rochelle Bard is enchanting as self-centered Musetta,
offering as much fantastic comic relief as stunning soprano tones.
by Jenn Kistler, Sacramento News & Review
In the role of Musetta, soprano Rochelle Bard was an interesting counterpoint to Nobles (Mimi), with her soaring and crystal-clear soprano and comically piquant acting, a gift to the Musetta role.
by Edward Ortiz, The Sacramento Bee
As the Foreign Princess in Rusalka with Boston Lyric Opera:
Rochelle Bard, enveloped in a carapace-like white cloak and gown and aggressively
aglitter with diamonds, was a deliciously evil enchantress, conveying the haughty
cruelty of the Foreign Princess with a bright, crystalline soprano.
Kalen Ratzlaff, Opera News
'Rochelle Bard was imperious as the Foreign Princess.' by Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe
'The combined vocal and acting honors had to go to Rochelle Bard,
as Rusalka's saucy, scheming rival.' by Thomas Garvey, The Hub Review
'Rochelle Bard, looking like the pretty “mean girl” Veronica from Archie,
vamped up an enjoyable storm as the Foreign Princess.'
by David Shengold, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
As the title role in The Merry Widow with St. Petersburg Opera Company:
'St. Petersburg Opera production of Franz Lehar's romantic bon-bon is strong
musically, with some interesting voices — especially Rochelle Bard in the title role.'
'Bard is marvelous as the well-heeled widow, sweeping onto the stage in sparkling,
witty voice to a lovely Lehar melody.'
by John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times
As the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Idaho:
Review: Soprano surprises and dazzles
in Opera Idaho’s ‘Lucia’ and dazzles in Opera Idaho’s ‘Lucia’ and dazzles in era Idaho’s ‘Lucia’
Opera Idaho’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” on Saturday was one of the most successful productions the company has put forth. Beautiful sets and costumes, a well-balanced, strong ensemble, good acting and a stunning performance by soprano Rochelle Bard in the title role brought a sense of grandness to the Morrison Center stage.
Bard surprised the audience throughout the performance with her rich, flexible and fluid voice, which rippled through her bel canto arias, and the depth of emotion and character she brought to Lucia.
Her mad scene was a marvel. In the aria “Il dolce suono” she captured a sense of tragedy and pathos without overflowing into melodramatic antics. She kept it creepily simple and honest, giving Lucia wonderful physical gestures that suggested both a return to childhood and a happier time with Edgardo. Bard’s duet with flutist Ryan Rice was flawless and beautifully mesmerizing.
by Dana Oland, Idaho Statesman
Lucia di Lammermoor
...Bard has a stunning voice -- I had to catch my breath a few times during some of her solos.
Bard does an excellent job of conveying Lucia's madness not just in song, but in mannerisms -- she sits on the altar and dangles her feet girlishly, then viciously throws flowers from the altar at the man she imagines to be Arturo; she absentmindedly drops her veil on the floor, then snatches it out of the hands of her companion, who has picked it up.
As Gilda in Rigoletto with Opera San José:
Theater Notes: Rigoletto
Rochelle Bard was stunning as Gilda. Her aria “Caro nome” was heartbreakingly exquisite and had the hushed audience hanging on.......... each delicate nuanced note....
by Paul Myrvold,Out and About Magazine
‘Opera San Jose’s Rigoletto worth the drive’
…Shining out over everyone was soprano Rochelle Bard, whose vocal and theatrical assurance was spot on. With sweetness and purity of tone, she negotiated Gilda’s first act ‘Gualtier Malde!...Caro nome’ with formidable breath control and dynamic range- her notes exquisitely suspended in the air, rising from her body as if they were the memory of roses. Her portrayal of a young woman in love as both brave and ecstatic made the character’s sacrifice logical, even acceptable.
by Jaime Robles,Piedmont Post
'Two casts, two compelling versions of Rigoletto''..
...It was soprano Rochelle Bard, as Gilda, Rigoletto's doomed daughter, who owned the show with her opalescent lyricism, dramatic impact and high-velocity flights. Her singing of "Caro nome", an aria as challenging as it is famous, was deep-felt and precise, streaming through coloratura ribbon-runs.............................................................................
by Richard Scheinin, Mercury News
Performance Review: Rigoletto
In this performance, Rigoletto, Gilda, and the Duke were all portrayed by strong singers and actors with specific and believable approaches to their roles. As Gilda, Rochelle Bard enchanted the audience with a bright tone and floating coloratura. Gilda came alive as she fell in love with the Duke, transforming from an uneasily obedient child into a more complex and confident young woman.
In the overture the orchestra set the tone for the dark story to come, creating a foreboding mood that clashed with the hedonistic laughter of the opening scene. But some of the most stirring moments of the evening were quieter, including Bard's riveting and seemingly effortless performance of the virtuosic 'Caro nome’ in which Gilda recalls the name of her beloved. Another quietly compelling scene occurred in Rigoletto and Gilda's duet in Act II, after Rigoletto discovered that the Duke seduced his daughter. The father and daughter began standing apart from each other but the music slowly united them for a rare moment in which forgiveness trumped vengeance. ......
By Rebecca Krouner, KQED Arts and Culture
As the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Opera San José:
‘Rochelle Bard is a sensational Lucia’
Word is out in Silicon Valley - Rochelle Bard has taken over the town. The young lyric soprano from Massachusetts lent her incomparable phrasing and acting to a performance that brought out new levels in the title character's psychological undoing.
This aspect made its first appearance in Donizetti's lovely "Regnava nel silenzio," in which Lucia relates an old tale about a male of the Ravenswood clan murdering a Lammermoor lass in a jealous rage and depositing the body in the very fountain where she sings. Bard tells the story with relish, revealing her Lucia as a young woman with a bit of an edge, and a fondness for morbid legends - a handy foreshadow for the infamous wedding to come. Bard also displayed, as always, a great skill for flipping up to high notes with ease, then growing the note from p to f in a lovingly organic rise.
All of these elements lead toward the mad scene, of course, and it was almost excruciating to anticipate what Bard's arsenal could achieve with this iconic buffet of music and melodrama. The soprano held the audience in mesmerized rapture, painting the illusion that these were not written-down notes at all but simply the logical, spontaneous sounds that proceed from a young Scotswoman's homicidal insanity. The duet with the flute (played by Isabelle Chapuis) was spotless, and carried a lovely touch of movement; Bard began with her back to the audience, then spun around at Chapuis's first phrase to greet her crazy muse. The scene was augmented by Bard's extremely vivid stage-face, which she employed in an astonishing array of expressions to bring out Lucia's interior disintegration.
This production is a smashing start to Opera San Jose's season, ending with, I swear, the first time in 20 years I have witnessed a laid-back California audience giving a single singer a standing ovation. I'll say it a few more times: Rochelle Bard is headed for greatness.
Michael J. Vaughn, The Opera Critic
'Opera San Jose turns in a powerful Lucia di Lammermoor'
It was a busy weekend for opera buffs all over the Bay Area. While the San Francisco Opera was rolling out its new season up north, Opera San Jose did the same with a gripping new production of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" that brought out all the hot-blooded excitement of this hardy perennial of the musical stage.
There's enough credit to go around in the success of Saturday's opening performance at the California Theatre. The music was delivered with the requisite blend of gusto and sensitivity, and the staging - though resolutely traditional - kept a careful watch on the flow of emotion among the principal characters. The result was an evening that reaffirmed the power of opera in all its dimensions.
Saturday's performance was buoyed by splendid performances in the two lead roles. As the ill-fated Lucia, Rochelle Bard displayed a bright, agile soprano with an expressive stage presence that underscored her character's plight. Her account of the famous final mad scene was a knockout - fluid, precisely etched and marked by a haunting sense of vulnerability.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
'Lucia slays 'em!
Opera San Jose's 'Lucia' is a high-flying success'
Opera San José, opening its 24th season Saturday at the California Theatre, has put it all together with a "Lucia," directed by Timothy Near, that never stops springing ahead toward that inevitable ending. The opening night cast sang persuasively. The tragedy's touchstone set pieces, including the most famous "mad scene" in all of opera, were mellifluously devastating.
Soprano Rochelle Bard, as Lucia, sailed through Donizetti's coloratura challenges - those florid streams of bel canto pyrotechnics, delivered here with poignance and power. The celebrated Act II sextet - a maze of emotions and perspectives involving all the principals - was superb.
In the mad scene, Bard was in a comfort zone, even amid all those stratospheric ascents, sudden drop-offs, and rapid runs of filigree. Her florid duet with flutist Isabelle Chapuis, the orchestra's principal flute, was one of the night's arresting moments. Charting Lucia's psychological descent, she was also the best actor in Saturday's cast.
By Richard Scheinin, Mercury News
Read the interview with Michael J. Vaughn of The Opera Critic:
As Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata, Opera San José:
'It’s All About the Soprano ~ La Traviata at Opera San José'
'The audience got it right. When Rochelle Bard stepped out between the curtains to take her bow after the stunningly poignant final scene of Verdi’s La traviata, the audience rose to their feet to applaud wildly and cheer her marvelous performance as the courtesan Violetta.'
'The opera by its structure belongs, as it must, to the soprano who sings Violetta and in this production Ms. Bard simply owns the role. She has the beauty and exquisite femininity to be believable as a widely adored, sought after courtesan (a fancy name for a call girl or, more plainly, a high class prostitute), and she has a lyric soprano voice that is pure and powerful in a role that demands both coloratura agility and dramatic intensity. She was pure pleasure to hear.'
by Paul Myrvold, Out and About Magazine
'Rochelle Bard makes an immediate impression in 'La Traviata'
WHEN THE current Opera San José season was announced, Rochelle Bard's photo was prominently displayed at the company's website as a first-year member of OSJ's resident company. (In September, Bard appeared in Roméo et Juliette, but not in the cast reviewed by Metro.) Happily, our long-postponed introduction finds her in one of every soprano's signature roles, Violetta Valery in La Traviata. It was worth the wait, and a pleasure to see Verdi's clichéd masterpiece in a dignified new production at the California Theatre.
Opera San José's mission is to provide accomplished professional singers with stage experience, and Bard appears to be a quick study.
Not only did she give Violetta a believable characterization
but she held audience attention at every turn. Her instincts made compelling work of stage director Olivia Stapp's instructions. In the card scene of Act 2, her cameo at the opposite edge of the stage attracted a quiet contrapuntal sympathy.
But it was in her big vocal scenes where Bard drew Violetta's character most indelibly. That was obvious from the start, graced by the diva's subtly told reactions to events and characters around her and an expressive dynamic range that drew in her audience during quiet passages and asserted itself in the large outbursts. These qualities were displayed early on in the Libiamo brindisi, Ah, fors'è lui and Sempre libera. In Act 2, Bard brought the heroine's vulnerability to the fore, especially in the scene with Giorgio Germont, who has come to demand that she end her affair with his son.
by Scott MacClelland
San Francisco Classical Voice & Metroactive Magazine
photograph by Pat Kirk
'Sparkling melodies, superbly blending voices
make OSJ's La Traviata a winner'
Perfect moments come rarely in any medium and to make them happen in opera requires a coming together of the efforts of singers, conductor, orchestra and a dozen other factors. When they do happen, as occurred in the current Opera San Jose offering, it is sublime.
In the Sunday, Feb. 11 performance, the title role was sung by Opera San Jose resident artist Rochelle Bard, whose powerful and creamy coloratura soprano voice seared the audience's consciousness. She was especially poignant in the "parlando" segments and where she spoke the lines of a letter. In her death-bed scene, although marked by her past excesses, she was a transfixed woman who knew she needed to die to be redeemed.
Mort Levine, Milpitas Post
As Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Opera San Jose:
'A night of emerging stars'
'Juliette, was a rookie soprano aptly named Rochelle Bard. The first sample of her spinning, lyric tone in the opening party scene and you could sense the astonishment in the audience. Her "Je veux vivre" had them swooning, and when she finished with a cadenza that didn't just slide smoothly over her natural break but performed figure eights all around it, the operagoers of Silicon Valley were now cognizant of the gift they had just received, and almost refused (in a very non-California way) to stop applauding.'
'But the evening's biggest sensation was when Bard delivered Juliette's fourth-act contemplation of Laurent's "sleeping death" poison, "Amour ranime mon courage." In the face of Juliette's passion and fear, Bard's lyric instrument suddenly grew to the size and ferocity of a spinto, even a dramatic soprano, as if Juliette had suddenly become Tosca! The change was astonishing, and another indication that a major new talent has landed in the South Bay Area.'
Michael J. Vaughn, The Opera Critic
‘Roméo et Juliette’ thrills and charms'
Opera San José, happily, has found just the right pair
of decathletes to lead the way through this
19th-century adaptation of Shakespeare's sad story of
ill-fated love. At Saturday's season-opening
performance at the California Theatre, soprano
Rochelle Bard, a newcomer to the company, and tenor
Christopher Bengochea not only didn't flag in their
roles as the young lovers, they also ripened as the
action proceeded from marriage bed to death bed.
These two were the cornerstone of one of the strongest
and most charming productions the company has staged
during the past several seasons.
...As Juliette, Bard's singing was fully mellow and clear,
conveying a real sweetness, along with Juliette's innocence and,
in the end, despair. Her numerous love duets with Bengochea,
sung in tight harmony amid lots of nibbling embraces,
were touching, passionate successes.
Richard Scheinin,Mercury News
'Beautifully tragic 'Romeo et Juliette'
For French composer Charles Gounod, the opera "Romeo et Juliette" became one of the two masterpieces of his career. It is a powerful piece putting great vocal demands on two leads, who carry at least three quarters of the singing load.
Once again, Opera San Jose has proved to be competitive with the best national opera companies; a number of new performers with stirring voices have been added to this season.
At Saturday night's opening performance, newcomer Rochelle Bard was well up to the task. Bard has one of the fullest, richest and strongest sopranos I have heard in many a year.
Keith Kreitman,Inside Bay Area
As Gilda in Rigoletto in concert with Cape Cod Opera:
As Gilda, Boston-based soprano Rochelle Bard, performing
on the eve of her departure to apprentice with the Baltimore
Opera, scored a solid hit with the Cape audience. Her exquisitely
wrought rendition of "Caro Nome" left little to be
desired musically or dramatically. Besides possessing a voice
with a lilting, lyric quality, the young soprano can deliver
a coloratura range of notes with finesse and unerring pitch.
She further impressed with her fine singing in duets, trios
and quartets from Verdi’s "La Traviata," Mozart’s
"Cosi Fan Tutte" and Beethoven’s "Fidelio."
Anna Crebo, Cape Cod Times
As the title role in The Merry Widow with
New England Light Opera:
In the title role, Rochelle Bard displayed a gift
for broad comedy and a crystalline soprano that turns sweeter
the higher it goes.
Richard Dyer,The Boston Globe
The following are excerpts from reviews for her performance at
Tanglewood in the summer of 2003 as Juana II in the world premiere
of Robert Zuidam's Rage d'Amours, commissioned by the Boston Symphony
Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe stated,
"Soprano Rochelle Bard shone with particular promise."
The New Yorker commented that she "sang
Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times
called her performance a "standout."
Opera News stated that "Rochelle Bard
followed (Lucy Shelton's) vocal and dramatic lead with pathos