Gasparina has two admirers. Don Ettore, a merchant's son, is young and handsome,
but has no money of his own, so has to raid his mother's house to bring her presents.
The music master, Don Pelagio, is captivated by all of Gasparina's talents. He composes
arias specially for her and keeps proposing marriage. He is the better bet but the
merchant's son is more tempting.
Don Ettore brings Gasparina the latest booty from his mother's cupboard just as Don
Pelagio is about to arrive for her daily singing lesson. To extricate herself from
this awkward confrontation, Gasparina pretends that Don Ettore is a linen draper
come to sell her some material and arranges an assignation with him later.