Travel to a faraway land for the adventures of a dashing pirate, Conrad, and his feisty girlfriend Medora. Will they outfox evil schemers and find happiness on the high seas?
From a vibrant market square to a moonlit cave and a lavish palace, get swept away by this epic ballet escapade.
English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire is “hugely enjoyable entertainment” (The Daily Telegraph). Expect a swashbuckling romp, full of thrilling dancing by a brilliant cast of performers, with gorgeous decors and costumes created by Hollywood’s Bob Ringwood, all set to a romantic score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
English National Ballet is the only UK company to perform this classic story ballet. Our extravagant production, staged by Anna-Marie Holmes, has enthralled audiences and received rave reviews across the world, including Paris and Tokyo. It returns following glorious performances in 2016.
Fabulously entertaining… if you’ve never been to a ballet, trust me, this is the place to startThe Observer
Liven up your playlist with the thrilling music of Le Corsaire, as English National Ballet Philharmonic release their first album in over 40 years. Take a listen and purchase these highlights from the classical ballet on Spotify and Apple Music.
Main image: Dancer Brooklyn Mack. Photo © Jason Bell. Art Direction and Design: Charlotte Wilkinson Studio.
A pirate ship sails across the high seas, captained by our hero Conrad and his faithful pirate crew: they are on a mission to rescue Medora, Conrad’s love, from the hands of the slave trader Lankendem.
Act I – The Bazaar
Lankendem is selling his slave girls in a busy market place. Conrad suddenly spies Medora peering from a balcony, and she throws Conrad a rose as proof of her feelings towards him.
When the Pasha, the Governor of the citadel, arrives, Lankendem presents three young women he wants to sell to him. All three are soon rejected, so Lankendem presents the enigmatic Gulnare. The Pasha buys her immediately. Meanwhile Medora attempts to escape with the help of Conrad’s slave, Ali, but is stopped. Peering under her veils, the Pasha is taken by Medora’s beauty and insists she dance for him.
As Medora dances everyone is entranced by her beauty; the Pasha, unable to resist such temptation, buys her as well. Consumed with love for her, Conrad commands Ali and the pirates to raid the village kidnapping both Medora and Lankendem and taking them back to their secret hideaway.
Act II – The Pirate’s Cave
Reunited again, Conrad shows his hideout to Medora, promising her all his treasures and possessions. Birbanto, the second in command, confronts Conrad, for all the riches are not his to give.
After Medora, Conrad and Ali dance to entertain the crew of pirates, she pleads for the slave girls’ freedom. Conrad agrees, but Birbanto rebels: a ferocious fight ensues with Conrad victorious.
Birbanto devises a devious plan: he sprays a rose with a sleeping potion, which send Conrad into a drugged sleep. As Conrad lays unconscious, he decides to kidnap Medora, who cuts his arms when trying to defend herself.
In the confusion, Lankendem steals her back and escapes. When Conrad awakes, Birbanto feigns ignorance: his captain vows to rescue his love again.
Act III – The Pasha’s Palace
Gulnare is entertaining the Pasha and the Vizier when they are interrupted by Lankendem entering the palace with Medora. The Pasha is delighted Medora has been recaptured and declares he will make her his most treasured wife.
To celebrate, he smokes on his opium pipe and soon falls asleep, and dreams of his harem in his fantasy garden, with Gulnare and Medora dancing amongst flowers.
The Pasha is awakened by the arrival of Conrad, Birbanto and the pirates disguised as merchants, minstrels and conjurors. They trick their way into the palace, before revealing their true identities: Conrad and his men chase away the Pasha as the pirates dance in victory. Birbanto suddenly rushes in chasing Gulnare, and Medora then exposes Birbanto as a traitor and Conrad shoots him. Ali helps Medora, Gulnare and Conrad escape and they flee to the ship, now reunited.
“A swaggering, bravura spectacle... glorious, unabashed fun”