Dramma Giocosa in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performed in Italian with German surtitles
After a night spent drinking in a café, two young officers Ferrando and Guglielmo quarrel with Don Alfonso, a sort of philosopher, about the trustworthiness and fidelity of their betrothed. They enter into a wager. Don Alfonso arranges a delicate game. He surprises the two betrothed Fiordiligi and Dorabella with the news that their finacés are forced to report for active duty immediately. There is a tearful farewell with the lovers vowing fidelity.
Despina the maid tries without success to make it clear to her mistresses that men are not worth the tears and that ladies should rather profit from their freedom. Don Alfonso seeks support from Despina. She is persuaded to let two strangers into the house. In disguise clothed in Oriental garments, Ferrando and Guglielmo court the favour of the ladies who indignantly reject them.
Despina has a plan. The two strangers pretend to take poison. Mortally ill, they sink into the arms of the ladies who desperately call for help. Despina arrives disguised as a doctor and performs a miracle by curing the men using magnets. The ladies‘ resistance weakens. They seriously consider shortening their time of waiting in a pleasant way. They cross-select between the supposedly unknown gentlemen.
While Dorabella rapidly yields to the charms of Guglielmo, Fiordiligi struggles with her emotions. Only when Ferrando learns of Dorabella’s infidelity and desperately redoubles efforts to conquer Fiordiligi does she also succumb. Both ladies are totally absorbed in their new love. A wedding celebration is quickly erranged with Despina acting as the notary. Just as the ladies are signing the marriage contract, Don Alfonso allows the former fiancés to return. The ladies panic, the gentlemen rage. Don Alfonso has won the wager but he advises the parties to be reasonable. Tearfully, the ladies again vow everlasting fidelity. The gentlemen dispense with any further tests. All feel the emotion in their hearts. Despina alone vows to control the game more expertly the next time.