Speakeast with - Teri Dale Hansen and Eric Van Hoven

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra bids farewell (and good riddance) to 2008 with the help of two powerhouse vocalists, soprano Teri Dale Hansen and tenor Eric Van Hoven, under the baton of conductor Michael Krajewski. Van Hoven made his New York debut with the New York City Opera and has impeccable classical credentials, while Hansen has won international recognition as a Kurt Weill specialist and a crossover artist who moves between opera and musical theater styles. They offer a tag-team discussion of the ASO's New Year's Eve show, which begins at 8 p.m.

Do New Year's Eve shows have a unique vibe?

Hansen: Absolutely. I think it's pretty much a drunken vibe. We start the evening by drinking, which sets the tone early.

Van Hoven: This show, involving more classical music than usual, I find takes on an entirely different feeling. If it was a Lerner and Lowe revue, we'd spend the evening moving through their collaboration. In this one, because of the combination of early pieces and later ones, we're bringing more of an updated feeling to the opera pieces. Hansen: It's an interactive show. It's 3-D. It's hands-on. Eric sings "La Donne e Mobile," which is sung by the biggest cad in Rigoletto, so Eric's going to go out in the house and accost all of the women.

Van Hoven: Not all of them. Just two or three.

Is there a reason why shows like this frequently have the opera in the first act, and the Broadway songs in the second?

Van Hoven: From a singing standpoint, it's easier to go from classical to Broadway. For classical, you need more chops, in layman's terms, to get through it, so I'd rather do the classical first.

Hansen: From a program standpoint, in any pops show, you want to go from the familiar to the incredibly popular, especially when people are imbibing through the evening. We get to songs from shows like West Side Story, which are deeply embedded in pop culture. In this country, opera hasn't quite made the same transition into pop as it has in Europe.

As singers, are you always working on New Year's Eve?

Hansen: Basically, yes. When you're a performer, the public becomes part of your family. There's part of your personhood that becomes public. If we weren't singing on New Year's Eve, it would be unusual and odd.

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