A crowd of Turks, Greeks and Armenians throng a square where slaves girls are for sale. A band of pirates appears, led by Conrad. Medora, the ward of Lankendem, throws a bouquet to Conrad, who realises she loves him. The Pasha arrives to buy slaves but none please him. He sees Medora and wants her but Lankendem says that she is not for sale. But the Pasha is determined and offers a price that Lankendem is unable to resist. The Pasha orders Medora be bought to his harem; she is distraught. Conrad swears he will save her. The pirates “kidnap” all the slave girls including Medora, with Lankendem in hot pursuit.
The pirates arrive at their hideout. Medora pleads for the release of the other slave girls and Conrad agrees, but Birbanto (another pirate) protests and tries to raise a mutiny. Meanwhile, Lankendem is caught by the pirates, and he suggests a plot to retrieve Medora. Birbanto sprays a flower with poison and tells Lankendem to give it to Conrad who, overcome with the poison, collapses. Medora is frightened by this and manages to stab Birbanto in the arm. She then faints and is carried away by Birbanto’s friends, followed again by Lankendem Birbanto is about to kill Conrad when he wakes. Hearing that Medora has been abducted for real he and his loyal pirates give chase.
Back at the harem, the Pasha’s harem girls are amusing themselves. Zulma, the Sultana, demands respect but Gulnara (the chief Odalisque) and her friends mock her. Lankendem arrives to deliver Medora to the Pasha. She begs for her freedom, complaining that Lankendem has treated her cruelly. He is banished by the Pasha. Pilgrims arrive, asking for lodgings for the night. Medora discovers that they are really Conrad and his friends in disguise. There is an entertainment, after which the pirates throw off their disguises. Conrad and Medora are reunited. Gulnare pleads for help to escape the harem. Birbanto and his friends arrive at the harem and try to capture Gulnare. Medora recognises Birbanto and tells Conrad of their treachery, identifying him by the wound on his arm. He and Conrad fight and Birbanto runs off. The Pasha’s guard arrive; Conrad’s band is routed and he is sentenced to death.
During the preparations for the Pasha’s wedding to Medora, Conrad is prepared for his execution. She begs the Pasha to spare him, and he agrees on the condition that she marries him. Medora tells Conrad of the Pasha’s conditions and the two lovers decide to take their own lives. However, they are overheard by Gulnare who suggests a plan.
The wedding procession arrives, with the bride veiled and the ceremony takes place. Medora dances for the Pasha and is given an ornamental dagger by him. He begs for her love, also giving her a handkerchief. Threatening the Pasha with the dagger and tying him to a chair with the handkerchief, Medora and Conrad escape the harem. Gulnare runs in and unties the Pasha. It is announced by a guard that the pirate ship, with Conrad and Medora aboard, has left the harbour. The Pasha is outraged at the escape of Medora, believing her to be his wife. Gulnare produces the ring used at the ceremony; it was not Medora who was veiled, but her!
A storm overtakes the pirate ship, on which Birbanto has hidden. He tries to stir up a mutiny and is thrown overboard by Conrad. The ship hits a rock and sinks, but Conrad and Medora climb onto the rock and are saved.
Medora: Ekaterina Krysanova
Conrad: Ruslan Skvortsov
Gulnare: Marianna Ryzhkina
Birbanto: Vitaly Biktimorov
The Pasha: Alexei Loparevich
Zulna, the Sultana: Irina Zibrovna
Music: Adolphe Adam (with additions by Delibes, Pugni, von Oldenburg, Drigo, Zabel and Gerber – and probably Drooper, Snorky, Fleegle and Bingo, for all I know)
Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky and Yuri Burlaka (after Petipa)
Design: Boris Kaminsky
Costumes: Yelena Zaytseva