Act I

Scene 1. At the marketplace

The Corsairs led by Conrad, and their girlfriends arrive at a marketplace in Adrianople. Fanfares announce the impending arrival at the market of rich and influential Seid Pasha who intends to buy girls for his harem. Seid Pasha and his retinue, accompanied by slave trader Lankendem arrive at the market. His first purchase is Gulnara, a carefree beauty with inexhaustible energy. After him Lankendem exhibits Greek girl Medora. Seid Pasha, and everyone around him, is stunned by her beauty. Conrad and Medora's eyes meet and the world ceases to exist. As a sign of this sudden surge of love, Conrad gives the girl an amulet in the form of a bracelet, which will now protect her and bring happiness. Neither Seid Pasha, who has bought Medora without haggling, nor his resplendent procession, just out of view, can return the lovers to reality.

The action is over, the marketplace empties. The Corsairs are the last to leave.

Scene 2. At the Grotto
Returning to the grotto, where the Corsairs are staying Conrad, dreaming of Medora, falls asleep.

Scene 3. A lively Garden
Conrad dreams of a magical flower garden where he and Medora are happy and carefree.

Scene 4. At the Grotto
Awakening from his sweet dream, Conrad realizes that life without Medora is meaningless and vows to find her come what may.

Act II

Scene 5. Seid Pasha’s Palace

Joy and gladness reign in Seid Pasha's harem. The wives, of whom Gulnara is now one, are preparing for the arrival of their master. Only Medora is sad: She cannot forget the beautiful Conrad, to whom she devotes all her thoughts and feelings.

Medora's friends ask her to share her sadness with them, and reveal the significance of the bracelet that she always wears. She tells the story of a stranger, who suddenly awakened in her a feeling of love; although they are never destined to meet again, she cannot forget him. The arrival of Seid Pasha causes commotion in the harem. All his attention is drawn to Medora. Gulnara tries to distract him with the dancing of the beautiful odalisques, which lulls Seid Pasha to sleep. He is carried, accompanied by Gulnara, to his chambers.

Midnight: Medora is alone and dreaming of her loved one.

Conrad, who has secretly made his way into the palace of Seid Pasha, finds Medora. The happiness of the lovers has no limit. Their noise brings Gulnara, who decides to help them, and shares her plan: dressed in the robes of her friend she will attract the attention Seid Pasha, and thus give the lovers the chance to hide and evade pursuit.

Medora and Conrad leave the palace and Gulnara, who has managed to gain access to Seid Pasha, successfully executes her plan.

Scene 6. At the Grotto
The Corsairs greet their leader and his sweetheart and celebrate their return. Medora and Conrad are happy and vow to be together for the rest of their days.

Out on the open sea, the Corsairs sail away, together with Conrad, Medora and their friends, heading towards new adventures.