The Marriage of Figaro opens on the day of Figaro and Suzanne's marriage. Suzanne informs her fiancé that the Count has offered her a dowry if she spends the first night with him. Figaro realizes that he must take quick action to thwart the Count's desires. He vows to mislead the Count by moving ahead the time the wedding will take place. At the same time, he must ward off Marceline, who wants to marry him. Marceline has involved Bartholo in her plans to win Figaro, which include encouraging the Count to oppose the marriage between Suzanne and Figaro.
Alone in her room, Suzanne is visited by Cherubino, whom the Count has dismissed upon catching him in Fanchette's room. Cherubino wants Suzanne to persuade the Count to reinstate him. The Count's arrival forces Cherubino to hide behind the chair and thus overhear the Count asking Suzanne to meet him later to discuss spending the night together. Basil's entry into the room, however, forces the Count to hide behind the chair and Cherubino to hide atop the chair. Basil counsels Suzanne to give in to the Count. He also reveals Cherubino's love for the Countess, which forces the Count to announce himself. He orders the page dismissed for good. Under pressure from the household, however, he declares that he will give Cherubino a commission in the army instead of merely casting him out. Figaro needs Cherubino for his scheme to thwart the Count, so he tells the page to return to the castle right away. The Count, meanwhile, hopes that Marceline will help him prevent the marriage.