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Act 1.    Leonidas Fadinard, a “bon vivant” Parisian gentleman, is marrying the daughter of Nonancourt, a Farmer-Gardener from the village Charrentonau. The wedding will take place in Paris. Fadinard, riding to Paris ahead of the wedding procession, loses his whip on the way.  While he is looking for it, his horse runs away. Finally he finds his horse devouring a lady’s straw hat with red poppy flowers, which is hanging down from a tree in Park Vincennes. The hat belongs to Eleonora, a married lady who is having a  rendez-vous with  Emil, a Moroccan officer. Fadinard hands them some money to cover the cost of the damaged hat   and rides off to his house in Paris.  Eleonora and Emil show up at Fadinard’s house demanding  an identical new hat. “If  I come home without  it, my husband will notice it,  and I’ll be  disgraced.”  Although Fadinard tells them that this is his wedding day and he has no time to look for a hat, Emil declares that they will wait here, in this house, until they receive the hat. The wedding procession (the bride, father-in-law, Uncle Vezinet, Cousin Bobin) arrives at Fadinard’s house, and he must immediately hide Eleonora and Emil .  Inventing  various pretextes  for  not letting  the procession, especially his father-in-law, enter his house, Fadinard  sends them on their way to the Mayor’s Office and begins his search for the hat.

Act 2.  Fadinard arrives at a millinery shop belonging to Klara , who  recognizes  him as her former lover  lost  eight month ago. “You promised to marry me!” Fadinard without hesitation promises her marriage again, anything to obtain the desired straw hat.  But Klara does not have it. She has sold it to Baroness de Champigny. Fadinard leaves the shop with the address of Baroness and promises Klara that he will return for supper. The wedding procession arrives at Klara’s  shop,  thinking that this is  the City Mayor’s Office  where the marriage ceremony will be performed.

Act 3.  Baroness de Champigny in her distinguished, elegant apartment, is expecting the  visit of a famous Italian tenor,  Nisnardi. When, instead, Fadinard suddenly comes in, the Baroness  takes him for the singer and assures him of her admiration and love for music and Italy. Disoriented, Fadinard does not rectify  her mistake, but  tries to explain  the purpose of his visit--to obtain her straw hat. Before his visit he had sent her a letter on this matter. He declares his passionate feelings for her and promises marriage. Unfortunately, the Baroness had given the hat as a gift to her cousin Madame Beaupertuis. Fadinard continue his chase for the hat, now going to Madame Beaupartuis’s. The wedding procession arrives in the Baroness’s dining room and has a feast, assuming that it is the wedding reception in a restaurant.

Act 4.  Fadinard hurries to Madame Beaupartuis’s house, where he finds her husband alone, waiting impatiently for the past 14 hours for his wife’s return from a shopping trip. Angry, he is soaking his feet in hot water to relieve a  headache. Fadinard explains the purpose of his visit- and innocently relates the story of  what happened in Park Vincennes: his horse ate the straw hat belonging to a young woman who was having a rendez vous with an officer. The angry husband, guessing that it‘s the story of his unfaithful wife,  promises  a horrible revenge . The wedding procession comes in assuming that this is Fadinard’s house  and expecting that they will stay here overnight to rest after the wedding reception. The misunderstanding is clarified and all of them, together with the betrayed husband, go to  Fadinard’s real house.

Act 5.  The wedding procession, exhausted by continuous wandering throughout Paris, decides to return to Charrentonnau.  They want, however, to take home all the wedding gifts. It happens that among the presents  for the bride  there is a hat made from Italian  Florentine golden straw, exactly like the one eaten by the horse. It is a present from Uncle Vezinet to the bride.  After the  enormous confusion  that ensues and after the arrest of  the entire noisy wedding procession by the National Guards,  the infamous hat lands on the head of Eleonora Beaupertuis, rescuing her honor and marriage. When the angry husband arrives – the wife has her hat on. Peace  wins ,and happiness reigns

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