Premiere of the revised version: 22 March 2023
The Mikhailovsky Theatre is proud to present a new version of the ballet Le Corsaire in memory of the outstanding dancer and choreographer Nikita Dolgushin.
As Dolgushin used to insist, “Traditions will only be kept alive if they are embraced with ardent hearts and minds.” Our new Corsaire is an opportunity to pay tribute to the artistry of choreographers past, dazzle audiences with modern technical achievements, and imbue the ballet with raw emotion.
We invite you to embark on an incredible journey through exotic lands, breathe in the spicy scents of an eastern bazaar, watch as the pirates fight, and get a glimpse of Seyd Pasha’s harem. In this vibrant ballet, swashbuckling adventures are interwoven with a love story, and colourful character dances alternate with classical ensembles and pas de deux.
A corsair ship tries to evade Seid Pasha’s mercenaries, but is shipwrecked on the shore. Conrad, the noble leader of the corsairs, is unconscious. His friend, former slave Ali, is searching the shore for survivors. Girls from the fishing village come ashore to collect the fishermen’s gear, but quickly forget their duties and start making merry. Two of them are the most enchanting ones — the Greek beauty Medora and the Turkish beauty Gulnara.
As they are collecting the nets, the girls spot an injured man. This is Conrad.
He recounts his unsuccessful attack on the slave traders’ ship and the shipwreck, and loses consciousness again.
Ali and the other survivors return followed by Seid Pasha’s mercenaries.
Medora shows the corsairs to the hidden boat. Ali thanks Medora and stays behind to help the wounded. Nevertheless, despite his efforts, Ali, the girls and some wounded corsairs get caught and enslaved.
Abdullah, the leader of the mercenaries, sells Medora, Gulnara and Ali to Lanquedem, the slave trader.
Eastern bazaar is bustling with life. Abdullah brings the corsairs to the market and locks them in a cage. Seid Pasha buys Gulnara for his harem; Medora will become his slave, too. In the midst of the bidding, strangers appear willing to participate. Suddenly they discard their burkas — these are corsairs, who have come to the market to rescue their friends. Conrad captivates Lanquedem in order to punish him. The corsairs flee, taking with them gold, rich cloth and weapons. Abdullah pays for the mess with his head.
Conrad is head over heels in love with Medora. He shows the girl his possessions on the corsairs’ island and sets free all the slaves. Ali takes revenge on Lanquedem: he makes the cruel slave trader dance to the blows of his whip.
Medora is in love with Conrad and wishes to remain on the island, but her friends want to return home to their families and loved ones. The leader of the corsairs gives the girls some goods. Birbanto speaks out against Conrad’s generosity: the loot belongs only to the corsairs! He challenges Conrad to a duel to dispute his supremacy, but loses.
Lanquedem seizes the opportunity to persuade Birbanto, who harbours a grudge, to take revenge on Conrad. He proposes to put the corsairs’ leader to sleep and take Medora to sell her to the Pasha.
Unbeknownst to Conrad and Medora, Lanquedem slips a sleeping potion into their wine. Medora hands Conrad the glass, and after the first sip, he falls unconscious. The girl begs for help, but falls into the hands of traitors. Lanquedem plans to send the beauty back to the harem.
Birbanto tries to kill the sleeping Conrad, but the faithful Ali manages to prevent it at the expense of his life. Conrad understands that his beloved has been abducted, his friend killed, and vows revenge.
Pasha tries to win Gulnara’s heart, but to no avail. Lanquedem appears with Medora and Birbanto. Gulnara takes Medora to her room. Birbanto shows Seid Pasha Conrad’s blade and swears allegiance. Seid Pasha appoints him the head of mercenaries.
Pilgrims pass through the Pasha’s possessions. Birbanto thinks they are disguised corsairs and forces them to reveal their faces. The indignant elders demand that the brazen mercenaries prostrate themselves to pray with them. Seid Pasha offers them rest in his palace.
The ruler wishes to see his new slave. Medora and Gulnara have become the jewels of the harem; they are like roses in a lush garden. It turns out that the corsairs have been hiding among the pilgrims after all.
They attack suddenly: Seid Pasha calls for help, but there is none to help.
The corsairs capture Birbanto and Lanquedem. Conrad tries to find out who killed Ali. Failing to find out the truth, he offers them a duel, which Lanquedem unexpectedly wins. The corsairs leave the slave trader stranded on the island and sail off to a new and free life.