At the end of the 18th century, Bohuš, a count’s son, who at one time was hounded out by his father because of his liberalism, returns to an idealised Czech town. Before he is allowed to reconcile with his father, he and his wife have to experience the provincial intrigues which the locals direct both at themselves and – because of his being suspected of “Jacobinism” – against Bohuš and his wife.
We encounter a number popular dramatic types – the happily amorous Jiří and Terinka, between whom the big-headed burgrave Filip wants to drive a wedge, the count’s power-hungry nephew Adolf, as well as the good-natured teacher Benda.
A crucial role in the story is played by the traditionally lauded Czech musicality; the Czechs’ affectionate relationship to music, whose ardency and tenderness is able to soften even the most hardened of hearts. The scene at the school during which the teacher Benda is preparing with the children a festive cantata in honour of the new master is one of the most remarkable in Czech opera.