2S,M,3T,2Bar,2B; chorus; ballet
Padua is groaning under the yoke of the foreign rule of the Venetians. The pressure on the doge, who has been installed by Venice, is growing. Malepieri, the ‘tyrant of Padua and slave of Venice’, senses that he is in danger of becoming a victim of his own system which is controlled by spies and denouncers. When troubles arise during the carnival festivities, he orders the arrest of Cassio Belloni, a popular singer famous for his art of improvisation, whom he suspects to be the instigator of a conspiracy. In fact, however, Cassio is the son of the rightful doge of Padua and has returned from exile. Secretly he has been preparing the recapture of the city. In prison, two fellow prisoners, who turn out to be Venetian spies, tell him that the ‘Council of Ten’ in Venice has already sentenced Malepieri to death. Cassio is released through the petition of mercy submitted by Silvia, the doge’s daughter. When, shortly after, the rebellion against the Venetian occupiers breaks out, he manages to protect Malepieri and Silvia from the Venetian catchpoles and the people of Padua who are crying for revenge. He shows mercy and, having become the new doge of Padua, marries Silvia amidst the rejoicing of the people.