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Giuseppe Verdi

Il Corsaro

Librettist: Francesca Maria Piave
Based on Lord Byron's play, Corsair

Cast of Characters

  • Corrado, (tenor) Captain of the Pirates
  • Medora, (soprano) Corrado's young lover
  • Gulnara, (soprano) Seid's favorite slave
  • Selimo, (tenor) Official of the Pasha
  • Seid, (baritone) Pasha of Coron
  • Giovanni, (bass) a pirate
  • A Black Eunuch, (Tenor
  • Slave, (Tenor
  • Pirates, Odalisques, soldiers, eunuchs, Muslims, slaves, Turks, and handmaidens.


An island in the Aegean Sea and the city of Coron, at the beginning of the nineteenth century.


Teatro Grande, Trieste, Italy; 25th October 1848.


Corrado leads his pirates against the Muslims. Disguised as a Dervish, he is taken to Seid and tells him he escaped from the Pirates and begs protection from his captors. When the Corsaro attack the Muslims and Corrado throws off his disguise to reveal his true identity. He rushes to the nearby harem to rescue its' inhabitants. Among them is Gulnara who falls in love with her savior. The attack is crushed and Corrado captured. Seid sentences Corrado to death at which Gulnara and the Odalisques beg for Corrado to be spared.

Imprisoned and awaiting his painful end, Corrado worries about the affect of his death on Medora, his love he left behind. Gulnara reveals that she loves him and that she has prepared his escape. She hates Seid and wants to leave this accursed place. Corrado has resigned himself to his fate and refuses to leave. Gulnara tries unsuccessfully to rally him and snatches the dagger she had given him and rushes off to Seid's quarters as a storm begins to rage.

Gulnara returns after the storm abates and wearily declares Seid's death. Hearing this, Corrado agrees to leave only to spare her her punishment for the crime. On the Pirates island, Medora awaits for Corrado's return. Certain of his death however, she has swallowed poison. A ship suddenly appears approaching the island and is recognized as one of their own. Corrado arrives and relates the tales of his journey to all. Medora thanks Gulnara for saving Corrado and dies in his arms. In utter despair, Corrado jumps into the sea as Gulnara faints.

Memorable Music

Tutto parea sorridere
Non so le tetre immagini
Nè sulla terra creatura alcuna
Alfin questo corsaro … cento leggiadre vergini
Non sai tu che sulla testa

Final Trio: Più non ti veggo

Additional Information

  • Performance History
  • Synopsis
  • Arias and Choruses
  • Libretto
  • Dervish and Odalisques
  • Discography
  • Pictures

Copyright © 1996, Stephen L. Parker