Synopsis of La Serva Padrona

Uberto, an ornery old bachelor, is angry because his servant Serpina has not brought him his chocolate. Uberto raised Serpina from the time she was a young girl, and now that she is grown, she has become arrogant and dissatisfied with being the servant. She wants to be the mistress, the one who gives the orders. In fact, when Uberto readies to leave, she forbids him from going, and tells him that from now on he will have to obey her commands. Uberto orders Vespone (his other servant) to find him a woman to marry so that he can be done with Serpina’s stubborn griping. She overhears his desire for a wife and submits herself as a candidate, though Uberto insists it should be anyone but her.

Serpina conspires with Vespone in a plan to get Uberto to marry her. She tells Uberto that she plans to marry Captain Tempesta, just as Captain Tempesta (Vespone in disguise) arrives. Uberto is surprised at the prospect of being so suddenly rid of Serpina, but becomes dismayed when Captain Tempesta demands an exorbitant dowry in order to take her. When Uberto attempts to refuse, Captain Tempesta makes it clear to him that the only other option is for Uberto to marry Serpina himself. Desiring a swift end to his difficulties, Uberto agrees to marry her. Serpina and Vespone reveal the trick, and Uberto realizes he has been resisting his true love for the young woman. They will marry after all, and Serpina will really be the maid-turned-mistress.