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Teatro Regio, Thursday 6 December 2007 - Sunday 9 December 2007
A group of pirates, headed by Conrad, is wandering through a slave market. The young Medora tosses Conrad a bunch of flowers. The old sultan Seid Pasha, impressed by the girl, handles her purchase with the merchant Isaac. Medora asks Conrad to help her, and he orders his men to kidnap Isaac and the other slave girls while he and Medora flee to his refuge. Birbanto, one of Conrad’s men, guards the prisoners. Medora asks Conrad to free them and he agrees, but Birbanto and the others, angry with Conrad for depriving them of the slaves, put him to sleep with a potion and kidnap Medora on Isaac’s orders.
In the palace of Seid, the favourite Zulmea is revered by all of the odalisques except Gulnare. When the sultan returns, he orders Gulnare to obey Zulmea, but she makes fun of him. Irritated, he has the eunuch thrashed because he is unable to maintain discipline. Isaac arrives with Medora. The pasha orders that the Jew be paid, and offers jewels to Medora, which she refuses. While she is sympathising with Gulnare, a messenger announces the arrival of pilgrims requesting accommodation. When the pasha orders the eunuch to take Medora to his rooms, the pilgrims throw off their cloaks: they are Conrad and his pirates. The pasha escapes with the guards and women. The corsair re-embraces Medora, who accuses Birbanto of having handed her over to Isaac. Conrad wants to kill him, but Medora stops him. The pasha, entering with some soldiers, disarms Conrad and condemns him to death.
Seid asks Medora to marry him in exchange for Conrad’s salvation. Medora at first refuses, but seeing Conrad in chains being led to his execution, she agrees to the marriage, despite Conrad’s opposition. Gulnare, however, suggests a plan to resolve the situation. Medora agrees to the wedding, the pasha frees Conrad and the wedding ceremony begins. The bride is wearing a veil, behind which Gulnare is actually hiding: the pasha slips the ring on her finger and leads her to his rooms. Medora then takes Gulnare’s place so that the pasha, when he raises the veil, doesn’t realise there was a substitution. Medora catches sight of a pistol in the pasha’s belt, and pretending to be afraid, she has him give it to her. At that moment, Conrad enters; Medora gives him the pistol and the two of them escape together. The pasha, desperate, orders his men to follow the fugitives, who have reached the ship. Gulnare arrives and shows him the ring: she is the true bride. While Conrad and Medora celebrate their liberation with their companions, a lightning bolt strikes the ship and it sinks, but the lovers manage to save themselves.