1953 - 1954
Zorika, daughther of Niklas a wealthy proprietor, is to be married to Fedor, a half brother of Jozsi, a Gypsy violinist. She meets Jozsi in the Chateau Park and is fascinated by his violin playing. Niklas is anxious to marry Ilma, a young widow, and has placed himself in the hands of Moschu, a beauty specialist to be rejuvenated. The wedding guest arrive and Fedor is about to kiss his bride when Jozsi appears and interferes with a Gypsy warning. A quarrel ensues and the guests depart for the Banquet Hall. Lilia wants her uncle to find her a husband also. Niklas refuses but Moschu promises her one; Kaspar arrives and Lilia proceeds to cure him of his bashfulness. Ilma helps which ends in Kaspar declaring he loves Lilia. Zorika meest Jozsi and asks him to take her away with him. This is overheard by Sacha, her nurse, who reminds her it is St. Agnes's Eve and implores her to drink of the magic waters of Czerna that she may see the future more clearly. She accepts the goblets and after drinking lets it drop in the stream as she sinks back to slumber in which she hears Jozsi's violin which changes to the song of the Water Sprites as the curtain slowly falls.
The scene changes to the Czarda a Hungarian Inn. Andor is deploring his bad business when he suddenly hears Jozsi playing outside and calls him in. Jozsi enters and entertains the guests. Zorika who has followed him for two years now desires she shall be married by a clergyman and in a Church. They pledge the wedding in Tokay and leave the room. As they do, Niklas offers to sing for Ilma. She laughs at him and confesses it is Jozsi's music which alone has captured her heart. Jozsi assures Ilma he loves her and desires to embrace her. She tells him to wait as a Gypsy wedding is to take place. He tells her he is the bridegroom. Ilma shows anger at the news and runs away followed by Jozsi. The wedding is about to take place and Zorika implores Jozsi to be married in Church. He declares he will have a Gypsy marriage or none. Seeing her father she appeals to him, but Niklas repulses her. Overcome with emotion as Ilma embrases Jozsi, her despair changes to anger and seizing his violin rushes toward him to strike him as the curtain closes the scene.
The third act opens in the Chateau Park. Jozsi enters calling for Zorika and is answered by Ilma. Jozsi invites her to elope with him and they leave the Park as Fedor enters looking for Zorika who in her sleep dreams of stabbing Jozsi, and awakes to find herself in Fedor's arms and all her previous suffering was a dream. Filled with joy they enter the Chateau. Lilia makes Kaspar compromise her with a kiss before a witness. Ilma accepts Niklas, and Kaspar marries the persistent Lilia as the curtain descends on the happy couples.