Talking With Rochelle Bard

Opera Tampa favorite Rochelle Bard made her company debut as Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine in 2009 under the baton of Maestro Anton Coppola. She has since graced the Straz Center stages in productions of The Merry Widow and Die Fledermaus and in Coppola’s 2011 Fond Farewells Concert. She has performed leading roles with companies around the county including Sarasota Opera, Opera Ithaca, Hawaii Opera Theater, Knoxville Opera, Utah Festival, Opera Idaho, Opera San Jose, Sacramento Opera and Boston Lyric Opera, among others.

Check out Rochelle Bard as Lady Macbeth in this clip from a performance of Guiseppe Verdi’s Macbeth.

A recipient of an honorary Doctor of Music from her alma mater the College of the Holy Cross, Bard also earned a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory. A pianist before finding her classical voice, she is also the music director of St. Thomas & St. Timothy Parish in West Hartford, Conn. 

A critically acclaimed soprano, Bard has been described as an “exquisite singing actress, brilliant and heartbreaking.” She sings the title role in Opera Tampa’s production of Norma, Feb. 10 and 12 in Ferguson Hall.

Rochelle Bard in costume as the titular Norma.


How did you get started in the business?

I was a pianist first and played for singers at school. It took me a while, but eventually I realized singing came naturally to me and I switched sides. I was pretty shy at first, but I’m mostly past that now. 😉

What’s always in your refrigerator?

Olives and seltzer

Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine or Chris Pratt?

CHRIS PINE. I had to look them up to remember who’s who, but Mr. Pine wins the day.

. . . We have a slightly different answer but we’ll just let this gif speak for itself.

What is your worst quality? 

Doubting myself. Singing is crazy vulnerable.

What music is on your playlist?

Chris Cornell, Paolo Nutini, Chris Stapleton, Alabama Shakes

Read any good books lately?

Sure, the libretto to Norma. It’s hard for me to read for pleasure when I’m memorizing a show. I look forward to my next vacation with a great book on the beach, my guy next to me and a tropical drink in my hand.

Cat person or dog person?

I adore animals, but I speak cat.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

“You have nothing to lose, just do it”

What’s your “guilty pleasure” television show?

I don’t feel guilty about it, but I can binge watch the Great British Bake Off and ‘80s movies like nobody’s business.

In the movie version of your life, who would play you?

Someone not born yet. Because I hope there’s a lot more life to live before this story can be told!

Who or what inspires you?

Honest artists, people who create from their soul.

What do you consider your greatest successes – personally and professionally?

Ironically, I would say singing the role of Norma! I first performed her in 2014, and she is powerful and vulnerable and the music is incredible. I’m especially excited to be doing Norma in Tampa with two amazing singer friends, Matt Vickers (Pollione) and Lisa Chavez (Adalgisa). We’re having a blast, and everyone is singing their pants off.

If you hadn’t chosen a career as a singer, what other career path do you think you’d have followed?

I would have gone to medical or vet school. I earned a degree in bio/pre-med before I got bit by the singing bug.

As long as the bug wasn’t one of these singing bugs. * Shudders *

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