Countess Maria is having an affair with young Octavian. Maria’s cousin Ochs almost catches them, but her lover dresses up as a maid called Mariandel and manages to escape. Ochs is in the process of preparing his wedding to Sophie, the daughter of a rich man named Faninal, and Maria suggests Octavian as the messenger for presenting the traditional silver rose to Sophie. But when Octavian and Sophie meet, they fall in love at first sight. Ochs sends Octavian away, but Octavian secretly arranges for a meeting between Ochs and “Mariandel.” When Ochs tries to seduce his beloved, Maria clears up the misunderstanding and encourages Faninal to give his blessing for Octavian and Sophie’s wedding.