"Vissi d'arte" from Tosca by Puccini
"D'amor sull'ali rosee" from Verdi's Il Trovatore, performed by soprano Rochelle Bard. Live in concert at Lincoln Center.
"Esprits de l'air" from Esclarmonde by Massenet
"Una macchia e qui tuttora", Lady's Macbeth's Sleepwalking Scene from Verdi's Macbeth.
As Abigaille in Nabucco with Sarasota Opera:
Rochelle Bard was an intimidating Abigaille with her powerful vocal range and her mastery of character.
-Broadway World by Carolan Trbovich
Relating such happenings demands a production with a large cast, large voices and strong support from the orchestra pit.
Happily, all of these came together in an all-out performance led by the strong and exciting voices of Rochelle Bard as Abigaille,
the “false” princess, Stephen Gaertner as Nabucco, and Kevin Short as Zaccaria, High Priest of the Hebrews.
The role of Abigaille is demanding on any singer, yet Bard deftly handled every facet, her voice soaring over orchestra and chorus.
-Your Observer by Edward Alley
While Fenena is a critical role for the action, the better musical opportunities are given to Abigaille. She is sung by soprano Rochelle Bard, whose high voice ably navigates the coloratura demands yet achieves a threatening edge in the lower range, which is where she spends her time with vengeance. Her “Anch’io dischiuso un giorno" and “Salgo già del trono aurat are a real tour de force both musically and dramatically. She is a fine actor spanning the range from love, vengeance and death by poison before the curtain fell.
-Herald Tribune by Gayle Williams
As the title role in Tosca with Opera Theater of Connecticut
Leaving the best for last was the gorgeous Rochelle Bard as the tempestuous diva Tosca.
She has a ferocious high C, and she catapulted all five of them like javelins into the hall,
and her "Vissi d'arte"was simply exquisite, with the diminuendo ending that revealed a rock solid technique.
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....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 madeMaria 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
'Heroine wows in Norma'
When Rochelle Bard, as the title character in Knoxville Opera's current production of Vincenzo Bellini's 1831 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 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 Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Utah Festival Opera:
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.
- Jay Wamsley, USU Statesman
As Olympia/Antonia/Giulietta/Stella in Les Contes d'Hoffmann:
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