Composer: Adolphe Adam
Librettists: Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, Joseph Mazilier, edited by Marius Petita
Choreographer: Marius Petipa
Revival and New Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky, Yuri Burlaka
Conductor: Pavel Klinichev
Set Designer: Boris Kaminsky
Costume Designer: Elena Zaytseva (with the use of sketches by Evgeny Ponomaryov in 1899)
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Music (excerpts in the production): Leo Delibes, Cesare Pugni, Pyotr von Oldenburg,
Riccardo Drigo, Albert Zabel, Julius Gerber
Music Dramaturgy conception: Yuri Burlaka
Score Restoration: Alexander Troitsky
Medora: Ekaterina Krysanova (18/20)/Yulia Stepanova (19)
Conrad: Igor Tsvirko (18)/Denis Rodkin (19)/Vladislav Lantratov (20)
Gulnare: Ksenia Zhiganshina (18/20)/ Eleonora Sevenard (19)
Birbanto: Denis Savin (18/20)/ Vitaly Biktimirov (19)
Slaves: Margarita Shrainer, David Motta Soares (18/19)/ Daria Bochkova, Mikhail Kryuchkov (20)
Seyd: Alexei Loparevich (All dates)
Zulmea: Nelli Kobakhidze (All dates)
Conrad, a corsair
Medora, a young Greek Girl, Isaac's ward
Seyd the Pacha
Birbanto, one of the chief corsairs
Zulmea, Seyd's favourite sultana
Gulnare, Seyd's slave-girl
Issac Lanquedem, bazaar-owner
Keeper of Seyd's harem
Corsairs, slave-girls, enuchs, Seyd's guards, merchants, buyers, almées, odalisques, children and others
The bazaar square: Beautiful slave-girls who are up for sale, sit awaiting buyers; here too throngs a crowd of Turks, Greeks, Armenians who are examining the wares brought from all corners of the world.
A band of corsairs appear at the square, led by Conrad. He has arrived at the bazaar to carry out a secret plan to meet a beautiful stranger.
Medora, the ward of bazaar-owner Isaac Lanquedem, appears on the balcony of her guardian’s home. Seeing Conrad, she quickly makes a selam out of the flowers she wants throws to him. The latter, reading the selam is delighted, since he believes the beautiful Medora loves him.
Isaac and Medora appear at the square. While Isaac examines the slave-girls, Medora and Conrad exchange passionate and meaningful glances.
A rich buyer appears at the square – Seyd, the Pacha – and his suite. He is surrounded by dealers showing off their girls, but not one of the latter pleases him. Then Seyd, the Pacha catches sight of her. He wants to purchase her but Isaac refuses to sell him his ward, explaining to Seyd that she is not for sale and offering him a pair of other maidens instead.
But Seyd insists on buying her. His offers are so advantageous and attractive that Isaac can not resist them and agrees to the deal. Issuing an order that the new slave-girl he has just bought be delivered to his harem, Seyd goes off to threaten Isaac with punishment if she is not immediately dispatched to his harem. Conrad calms down Medora, promising that the corsairs will kidnap her.
Responding to a sign from Conrad, the corsairs start a merry dance with the slave-girls, in which Medora takes an active part to the delight of all present. But suddenly, Conrad gives the signal, and the corsairs make off with the slave-girls and Medora as well. Isaac runs after Medora and tries to snatch her from the corsairs; Conrad orders that Isaac, who is frightened out of his wits, should also be seized.
The corsairs, with their rich booty and captive maidens return to their lair; also brought here is the trembling Isaac. Medora, saddened by the fate of her fellow slaves, begging Conrad to free them and he agrees. Birbanto and other pirates protest, saying they also have a right to the women. They turn mutinous. Conrad, deflecting a blow aimed at him, forces Birbanto to his knees; then he soothes a frightened Medora and protecting her, brings her into the tent.
Taking advantage of the confusion, Isaac tries to make his escape. However he is seen by Birbanto and other pirates who taunt him and, stealing all his money, suggesting that he participate in a plot to get back Medora. Picking a flower from the bunch, Birbanto sprays it with a sleeping potion, and hands it to Isaac, telling him to give it to Conrad.
Conrad appears and arranges for dinner to be served. While the corsairs are having their supper, Medora dances for Conrad who swears eternal love to her.
Gradually the corsairs disperse, except for Birbanto and several of his henchmen who are keeping an eye on Conrad and Medora. Isaac appears with a young slave- girl; pointing to her, he tells the slave-girl to give her the flower. Medora, clasps the flower to her breast and hands it over to Conrad, adding that flowers demonstrate all her love for him. Conrad, presses the flower to his lips but the intoxicating smell goes to his head and despite his efforts not to succumb to its effect, hefalls into a deep sleep. Birbanto makes a sign to the plotters to put their plan into action.
Medora gets taken away when Conrad falls asleep. She is surrounded by the corsairs who threaten her. Trying to defend herself, Medora stabs Birbanto in the arm and attempts to flee, she faints and falls into the hands of her kidnappers.
Dismissing his henchmen, Birbanto is about to make short work of Conrad when the latter wakes up. Hearing that she has been abducted, Conrad and the corsairs set off in pursuit.
Seyd, the Pacha’s palace
The bored odalisques start playing various games. Zulmea demands the odalisques show her respect, but Gulnare and her friends mock the haughty sultana.
Enter Seyd, the Pacha. The odalisques are required to bow down before their master, but the unruly Gulnare mocks him as well. Seyd,feeling carried away by her youth and beauty, throws her his handkerchief, but Gulnare throws it on to her friends, while the handkerchief, passing from hand to hand, reaches an old negress who, picks it up and starts to chase Seyd, smothering him with caresses. Seyd struggles to contain his anger.
In an attempt to please Pacha, the Keeper of the harem brings forward three odalisques.
Zulma tries to attract Pacha’s attention but, at that moment, the latter is told of the arrival of a slave trader.
Catching sight of Isaac, who leads in Medora, Seyd is overjoyed. She begs Seyd to grant her her freedom but, seeing that he is unrelenting, complains of cruel treatment by her guardian; Seyd orders the eunuch to send the Jewishperson packing. Approaching Medora, Gulnare showsmuchkindness and sympathy to her. Seyd offers her various jewels but, to his displeasure and Gulnare’s joy, she turns them down outright.
The leader of a group of dervishes appears, who requests lodging for the evening. Seyd allows the dervish caravan to stay in his garden. Unnoticed by the Pacha, one of the so-called dervishes reveals himself to Medora – who is Conrad. Amused at the dervishes’ embarrassment at the sight of the young, seductive slave-girls, Seyd promises to acquaint them with all the delights his harem has to offer and orders slave-girls to start dancing.
At the end of the celebration, Seyd orders her to be sent tohis private rooms in the palace. Throwing off their dervish disguise, the corsairs threaten Seyd with daggers, while Conrad and Medora embrace.
The corsairs are engrossed in plundering Seyd’s palace. Gulnare runs in, pursued by Birbanto, she rushes up to Medora and begs for her help. Conrad takes Gulnare’s part, meanwhile she recognizes Birbanto as her kidnapper and informs Conrad of his treacherous deed. Laughing, Birbanto denies her accusation; in confirmation of her words, she points out to Conrad the wound she inflicted on Birbanto by stabbing him in the arm. Conrad is about to shoot the traitor, but Medora and Gulnare restrain him and Birbanto runs off shouting threats.
Medora, giddy with weakness and nervous tension, is on the point of fainting but, with assistance from Gulnare and Conrad, she regains consciousness and, at their request, is about to follow them whenSeyd’s guards burst into the hall. The corsairs are routed, Conrad is disarmed and sentenced to death. Seyd is victorious.
Seyd, the Pacha’s Wedding
Seyd, the Pacha’s private rooms in the palace: Seyd gives orders to make preparations for his wedding to Medora. He proposes to her who indignantly turns him down. Conrad in chains is led to his execution. Medora, seeing the terrible plight of her loved one, begs Seyd to grant him mercy. Seyd promises to pardon Conrad on the condition that Medora, on her own free will, agrees to be his dearly beloved. She is at her wit’s end and in despair she accepts Seyd’s terms.
Left on their own, Conrad hurries over to Medora who tells him about the conditions that Seyd has agreed to free him. Conrad rejects that and they both agree to die together. Gulnare who has been observing them suggests a plan; the lovers agree to it and thank her profusely.
Seyd returns. Medora informs him that she hasaccepted his terms. Overjoyed, Seyd gives orders that Conrad be set free from all forms of persecution. while preparations are underway for the wedding ceremony.
The wedding procession approaches, the bride is covered by a veil. At the end of the ceremony, Seyd gives the bride his arm, and puts a ring on her finger. The dances of the odalisques bring the wedding to an end.
Left alone with Seyd, Medora tries to entice him with her dances, but she can’t wait for the hour of her delivery. Catching sight of the pistol in Seyd’s belt, she says it frightens her and asks him to take it off. Seyd does as he is told and hands it over to Medora. Her fear increases at the sight of the dagger, also tucked in his belt. To calm her down once and for all, Seyd pulls the dagger free and gives it to her. He tries to embrace her but, dancing, she slips nimbly away from his grasp. Seyd falls at her feet and, imploring her love, gives her his handkerchief. As if for a joke, she ties his hands up with it and he, amused, laughs at her prank. On the stroke of midnight, Conrad appears. Seyd is horrified when he sees her hand over his dagger to Conrad; he wants to call for help but she
aims the pistol at him and says she will kill him if he opens his mouth. Seyd doesn’t dare utter a word, meanwhile Medora and Conrad escape.
Seyd tries to free himself. Gulnare comes running in and, feigning horror, unties his hands. Seyd summons his guard and orders them to pursue the fugitives. Three shots of the cannon bring news that the corsairs’ ship has set sail. Seyd has a violent fit of temper: his beloved wife has been abducted. “I’m your wife”, says Gulnare, and, pointing to her wedding ring she adds, “this is your ring!”
Seyd remains in a state of shock.
Storm and Shipwreck
At sea: A clear and peaceful night on deck. The corsairs are celebrating their liberation. Only the hapless Birbanto, in chains, does not take part in merry-making. Taking pity on him, Medora asks Conrad to forgive Birbanto and the latter joins in her pleas. After some hesitation Conrad pardons Birbanto who requests permission to regale his fellow pirates with a barrel of wine.
There is a swift change in the weather and a storm swirls up; taking advantage of the confusion, Birbanto starts to stir up trouble with the pirates, but Conrad throws him overboard. The storm gets worse: there are peals of thunder, flashes of lightning and a very rough sea. A resounding crack is heard and the ship goes aground struck by a rock.
The wind slowly dies down and the sea becomes calm again. The moon comes out and two figures are lit up in its silvery light: these are Medora and Conrad who, miraculously, haven’t drowned. They reach the rock, clamber up onto it and thank God for their salvation.