The Corsair

This classic ballet narrates the story of the passionate pirate Conrad who falls in love with the beautiful Medora.

Approx. running time 2 h 5 min, one intermission

The one and only pirate ballet!

Music by Adolphe Adam, Cesare Pugni, Léo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo

Libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier based on a poem “The Corsair” by Lord Byron

World premiere on January 23, 1856 in Opéra de Paris

Premiere of the current version on March 1, 2020 in Rome Opera House

Premiere in the Estonian National Opera on December 2, 2022.

Despite having written approximately 40 operas and several other stageworks, the ballets “Giselle” (1841) and “The Corsair” (1856) as well as the marvellous Christmas carol “O Holy Night” (1843) remain his best known works. Adam’s last oeuvre “The Corsair” is loosely based on the 1814 poem “The Corsair” by Lord Byron. This classic ballet narrates the story of the passionate pirate Conrad who falls in love with the beautiful Medora. When Conrad and his pirates abduct Medora from a slave market to their secret grotto, the adventure is just about to begin...

Choreographer José Carlos Martinez: “For me it was a ballet that I never danced myself and it was interesting to try to do something that would be respectful of the tradition, not a new version of a classical ballet. I wanted to give “The Corsair” something unique from me, and at the same time preserve the lush and beauty of all these famous moments, like the magic garden or the big pas de deux, the pas d’esclaves. So, I thought it was reasonable to make a purified version of the ballet, composed of a fairy tale quality similar to “Giselle” or “The Nutcracker” and simplify the dramaturgy of an otherwise complicated plot and bring to the foreground the main characters of Medora and Conrad. Therefore, what the audience will be able to see, is a story of love between the two main protagonists and the adventures of their well-known companions. I found the inspiration for the story in Lord Byron’s poem, as well as in the original score by Adolphe Adam, which I also changed where necessary. I put all these iconic parts in the centre of the ballet and round them I built my story”.

“The Corsair” by the outstanding Spanish dancer and choreographer José Carlos Martinez is a real treat for everybody, especially as it is the first time that “The Corsair” enters the repertoire of the Estonian National Ballet.



Conrad, the pirate: Cristiano Principato, William Newton, Nelson Pena, Ali Urata, Marcus Nilson, Joel Calstar - Fisher
Medora:  Ami Morita, Madeline Skelly, Laura Maya, Anna Roberta
Lankendem, Slave Trader: Sergei Upkin, Nelson Pena, Andrea Fabbri, Francesco Piccinin, Patrick Foster, Jevgeni Grib
Gulnare: Ketlin Oja, Akane Ichii, Nanae Maruyama, Ana Gergely
Ali, Conrad's slave: Ali Urata, Leonardo Celegato, Finn Adams, Cristiano Principato
Birbanto, pirate: Andrea Fabbri, Francesco Piccinin, Patrick Foster, Leonardo Celegato, Jan Trninic, Nikos Gkentsef
Birbanto's friend: Ana Gergely, Marjana Fazullina, Jordan London, Nanae Maruyama, Lena Scherer
Pasha-Seyd, a Turkish ruler: Nelson Pena, Andrea Fabbri, Marcus Nilson, Jevgeni Grib
Eunuch: Daniel Kirspuu, David Jonathan, Emanuele Sardo
Odalisques: Anna Roberta, Laura Maya, Akane Ichii, Jordan London, Marjana Fazullina, Nanae Maruyama, Ellinor Piirimäe, Lena Scherer, Mia Li, Abigail Mattox, Anthea van der Ham
4 soloist of the Secret Garden : Ana Gergely, Marjana Fazullina, Akane Ichii, Jordan London, Laura Maya, Anna Roberta, Ellinor Piirmäe, Lena Scherer, Nanae Maruyama, Mia Li, Abigail Mattox, Beatrize Domingues, Nadežda Antipenko, Gili Neria, Cristina Krigolson

Choreographer and Stage Director

José Carlos Martinez

Music Director

Lauri Sirp


Kaspar Mänd

Jaan Ots

Charles Jude Assistant

Agnes Letestu


Iñaki Cobos


Rasmus Rembel

Projection Designer

Taavi Varm

Stage manager

Anton Osul