The Pirate Queen

Posted In: Performing

  • Participant
    David Ice on #140869

    Does anybody know who played the Broadway production of “The Pirate Queen” a few years ago? It ran about 90 performances, and the score was written by the guys who wrote “Les Miz”. There are only a handful of instruments, including harp, in the pit.

    I’m playing it for the next 3 weeks, and I must say I’ve NEVER seen such a relentless part! By relentless I mean it just doesn’t stop—page after page after page after page after page of never-ending arpeggios, double arpeggios, and nary a bar off or even ANY possible way to do a page turn…and key changes from 1 flat to 5 sharps, BANG, on a double bar line–and of course, right at a page turn! <sigh> I would love to pick the brain of whoever played this on Broadway to get some insight!

    It’s almost like the orchestrator put a quarter in the harp part and just left if running…..

    HankNYC on #140887

    Hi David – I did a search and found it was Kirsten Agresta that played the show on Broadway.


    David Ice on #140978

    Wow….I have to say BRAVO and my hat’s off to her for pulling it off. This part is like a marathon! I’ve never seen a part with so little time off for the harp! The score calls for a “Gaelic Harp” and a “concert harp”–I’m assuming they mean Celtic or lever for the former–and you only have 3 beats to switch from harp to harp! AND a page turn as well….

    erin-wood on #142384

    How did the performance go? It sounds like quite a challenge but was it really cool in the end? I know the harpist for Wicked has the whole part scanned into an ipad. I wonder if something like that would make the page turns easier? I think switching between harps would be a little silly–not that big a difference in sound and impossible to fit in some pits anyway!

    David Ice on #143505

    Sorry I’ve been offline for a while. THE PIRATE QUEEN went off fairly well…in that I was only really yelled at the first few rehearsals. At least one person overheard the conductor telling the director “The harp part is the hardest part in the whole show, including the singers.” I wound up playing maybe about 40% of the notes (it was just IMPOSSIBLE!) and even still it was playing as fast and as furious as I could go. For the dress rehearsal my 3rd octave F started to fray out immediately after the overture, and since a lot of the show is in G or D, I knew that yanking the string would really cause me visual confusion. So I rapidly detuned it, and the rest of the act had a–well, one musician said “it sounded like a John Cage piece with a prepared piano….plunk plunk plunk THUD….” I survived, and after the run I slept for about 20 hours straight. Next up is SOUTH PACIFIC, which I am actually looking forward to, and THE PRODUCERS at the end of the year.

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