Saturday, December 14, 2019 6:00-9:00 PM
Christmas in the Village
John Knox Village Centre Auditorium
Jennifer Forni, soprano
Casey Robards, piano
Stradivarius Chamber Ensemble
Esther Underhay, harp
VAS/JKV Members $35.00
General Public $50.00
The Venetian Arts Society Christmas in the Village at John Knox Village is an elegant holiday experience featuring world class artists from the great stages of the world. The evening begins at 6:00 pm in Village Centre Auditorium with wine and hors d’oeuvres, followed at 7:00 pm with our signature intimate and interactive Salon Concert.
The 2019 Christmas in the Village features Jennifer Forni, celebrated operatic soprano, and Casey Robards, renowned concert artist and collaborative pianist, The Stradivarius String Quartet, and Esther Underhay, harp. Following the Holiday Salon Concert there will be champagne and dessert and the opportunity to meet the artists and continue the holiday festivities.
The Venetian Arts Society is a South Florida fine arts organization that provides a unique opportunity for an intimate and interactive artistic experience with world class artists from the great stages of the world, stimulating conversation and a connection with artists and like-minded arts enthusiasts.
The Venetian Arts Society 21st century version of the “Art Salon” is a performance-educational-social concept with a mission to unify our world by celebrating the multi-cultural and inter-generational diversity of our community through inter-disciplinary arts. Please join us for a complete artistic experience with food, wine, and stimulating conversation…where art compliments art synthesizing the total artistic, social, multi-generational and educational experience.
Jennifer Forni – Soprano
Jennifer Forni has distinguished herself as a dynamic soprano possessing a strong, robust voice while maintaining the ability to effortlessly float stunningly-spun pianissimi above the staff. Ms. Forni excels in the heroines of Puccini, Bizet, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. In her role debut of Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Russian American had this to say of her performance, “Jennifer Forni showed her amazing singing talent and dramatic flair as fragile Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s classic Madama Butterfly. Ms. Forni as Madama Butterfly is at the top of game, shaping a highly believable character and never losing the strength of her beautiful vocal delivery”. In February 2013, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of the First Esquire in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Wagner’s Parsifal, broadcast in movie theaters around the world.
Early in her career at the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, while understudying the role of Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, she was requested to take the stage at a moment’s notice. After her towering performance she was asked to complete the run.
Other operatic engagements include: Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohëme, and Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen with Portland Opera; La Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro with Springfield Regional Opera; Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff and Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni while in residence with Opera San Jose; Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen with Opera San Jose and Springfield Regional Opera. While she was a member of the Portland Opera Studio: Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. She has also appeared at the Opera Theater of St. Louis and the Maryland Opera Studio, in such roles as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosí Fan Tutte, and Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Concert engagements include performances as the Soprano Soloist for the International Sacred Music Festival in Rome for John Rutter’s Mass of the Children; Fauré & Rutter Requiems with MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall; Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall; Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Juneau Symphony, Oregon Mozart Players, The Topeka Symphony and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Greeley Philharmonic, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Topeka Symphony, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with both The Springfield Symphony and the Sunriver Music Festival, Carmina Burana with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, and Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Portland Opera.
Ms. Forni is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she earned a Bachelor of Vocal Performance, after which she continued her studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, earning a Master of Opera.
Casey Robards – Piano
Known for her musical sensitivity, collaborative skill and versatility, pianist Casey Robards has given recitals throughout the United States, Europe, Central and South America and Asia. Her repertoire includes art song, opera, musical theatre, gospel and popular vocal music, string, brass and wind chamber music, solo piano and new works. Dr. Robards is currently on the faculty of the University of Illinois. Previous faculty appointments include Indiana University, Oberlin Conservatory (postdoctoral) and Central Michigan University. As an alum of the University of Illinois Black Chorus, and after serving for several years as its principal musician/assistant conductor, Dr. Robards has twice been an invited faculty clinician for the Black Sacred Music Symposium, a biennial conference. At the Bay View Music Festival, Casey is Conductor/Head of Collaborative Piano for the summer opera programs and pianist/coach for the American Spiritual Intensive. In 2017, Robards served as associate music director of the University of Kentucky world premiere of “BOUNCE: The Basketball opera” co-produced with Ardea Arts and made her Carnegie Hall debut accompanying baritone Christiaan Smith in Top 40 radio hits reimagined as art song. Casey is interested in the intersection of music and social justice and has led benefit recitals for Musicambia, a non-profit organization that creates music conservatories in prisons. Dr. Robards has recorded projects of spirituals and various classical music works by underrepresented composers with singers Ollie Watts Davis, Angelique Clay, Henry Pleas, violinist Fangye Sun, and oboist, Sara Fraker. Robards attended the Tanglewood Music Festival where she received the 2004 Henri Kohn Memorial Award for most outstanding fellow. She has a D.M.A. in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying from the University of Illinois. Her dissertation on the life and music of John D. Carter (1932-1981) may be found online.
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Village Center Auditorium at John Knox Village
651 SW 6th St, Pompano Beach, FL, 33060