Fadinard is happy. He has found the love of his life, Elena, and today will at last be marrying the beautiful lass from the countryside. He is busy preparing for the wedding when his horse devours the straw hat owned by a married lady who had been trysting with a military officer. To avert scandal, a new hat must be found. The great hat hunt ensues... Based on Eugéne Labiche's farce of the same name, Nino Rota's 1955 opera integrates the composer's light melodic style and powers of characterisation into an entertaining plot of sweeping force, resulting in a fine work for the musical stage.
Fadinard is getting ready for the happiest day of his life: soon, at last, he will be marrying his love, Elena. His morning preparations are struck by misfortune when, as he's riding in his carriage, his horse devours for breakfast a straw hat belonging to a very temperamental, and adulterous, lady. She and her military officer lover show up at Fadinard's home and demand that he replace the hat, lest the woman's jealous husband should get wind of her secret affair. As they cajole the young man, the wedding party arrives, led by the bride and Fadinard's future father-in-law. This is when Fadinard starts his helter-skelter race across Paris in search of a Florentine hat, with his path taking him from a millenery shop to Baroness Chamigny's soirée, where he is forced to pass himself off as a world-famous violinist, and then onwards, into the arms of the jealous husband.(Meanwhile, the wedding is held, and it seems like there's a good chance that the wedding party won't find out about the imbroglio.) Finally, as the rules of farce dictate, following a great number of misunderstandings and episodes of one person pursuing another, everything is resolved. Even the wedding party is released from prison.