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Baron di Kelbar's castle near Brest in August of 1733.
Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Italy; 5th September 1840.
Cavalier Belfiore has been in France posing as King Stanislaus I. This has allowed the real king to travel to Poland and take back his throne. The former is now a guest of Baron Kelbar and has been invited to take part in two marriages about to be celebrated in his house. The marriages are between his daughter Giulietta and the Grand Treasurer, Gasparo Antonio La Rocca, and between his niece, the Marchioness of Poggio and Count Ivrea. Belfiore has been harboring a secret love for the Marchioness and fears she will reveal his true identity. Edoardo, a young officer, is in love with Giulietta, but realizes he will not be able to marry her.
Belfiore uses his disguise to help Edoardo by persuading the Grand Treasurer not to marry Giulietta. When the Grand Treasurer refuses the marriage contract to Giulietta, the Baron challenges him to a duel. The Marchioness proposes that he seek real revenge and marry Giulietta off to Edoardo. He is about to kill La Rocca when the false Stanislaus enters and declares it his right to decide everything. He then orders the Treasurer to give his nephew, Edoardo, a castle and allowance in order to end the latter's poverty. La Rocca refuses when confronted by the Baron.
The Marchioness and Stanislaus confront each other. The Marchioness tries to make him abandon his disguise by faking affections toward Count Ivea. Belfiore acts as if he has forgotten her. She is about to reach the point of promising herself to the Count when Belfiore declares he must leave at once for Poland and the Count must travel with him without time for a wedding. Edoardo and Giulietta are in despair because of Edoardo's earlier pledge to follow Belfiore to Poland.
A letter arrives relieving Belfiore from his duties and appointing him Marshal. Before revealing the letter's content, he orders the marriage of Giulietta and Edoardo be celebrated. He then declares himself faithful to the Marchioness and everyone rejoices.