Grigory Gryazny, a young tsarist guardsman, is sad in his soul. Recently, he was bored with dashing fun. For the first time in his life he experienced a feeling of all-consuming love. In vain did Grigory Gryaznoy send matchmakers to the father of Martha, who fell in love with him. The merchant Sobakin flatly refused him, saying that Marfa had already been betrothed to the boyar Ivan Lykov. In an effort to forget himself, Grigory called the guardsmen, led by Malyuta Skuratov, to his feast. With them came the royal doctor Bomelius and Ivan Lykov. Guests glorify the cordiality and hospitality of the host. Lykov, who recently returned from overseas countries, tells what he saw. He ends his story with a toast in honor of the wise sovereign Ivan IV. Singing and dancing songwriters and songwriters Gryaznoy entertains guests. It's getting light. Everyone disperses. At the request of the owner, only Bomelius remains. Gryaznoy has important business with him. Promising to generously reward for the service, he asks the doctor to get him a potion that can bewitch the girl. Their conversation was overheard by the mistress of Dirty Lyubash. She had noticed before that her lover had grown cold towards her; Now Lyubasha was seized by jealous suspicions. But she will not give in to her happiness and will cruelly take revenge on the villain-razluchnitsa. Street in Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda. It's evening. The people leave the monastery. Among others - Martha and Dunyasha, accompanied by the housekeeper Sobakinyh Petrovna. All Martha's thoughts are about her beloved fiancé, Ivan Lykov. The girls' conversation is interrupted by the appearance of two unknown riders. One of them is staring at Marfa. This is Ivan the Terrible. Martha does not recognize the king, wrapped in rich clothes, but is frightened by the imperious gaze. Twilight is approaching. The street is empty. Lyubasha sneaks up to the Sobakins' house and looks out the window. Martha's beauty amazes her. Lyubasha decides to destroy her rival by replacing the love potion that Gryaznoy asked for with poison. Bomelius comes out to the knock of Lyubasha. He is ready to fulfill her request, but in return requires love. Lyubasha indignantly rejects his claims. But Martha's carefree joyful laughter, coming from the house, causes new mental anguish in Lyubasha; in a surge of desperate determination, she agrees to a shameful deal with the hated Bomelius. Preparations for the wedding are underway in the Sobakins' house. It would be time to celebrate it, but the royal bride prevented, for which they gathered the most beautiful girls to the palace. Lykov is worried; excited and dirty. Finally, Martha returns from the royal show. Everyone calms down, congratulating the bride and groom. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Gryaznoy imperceptibly pours a potion into Marfa's cup. Suddenly Malyuta appears with the boyars; he came to report that the tsar had chosen not Dunyasha as his wife, as the lovers hoped, but Marfa. Chamber in the royal chamber. The heavy meditation of Sobakin, deeply saddened by the illness of his daughter, from which no one can cure her, is interrupted by the appearance of Dirty. The oprichnik reports to Marfa that, under torture, Lykov confessed his intention to poison the tsar's bride with a potion and was executed by order of the sovereign. Martha cannot bear the weight of her grief. It seems to her confused mind that it is not Gryaznoy in front of her, but her beloved groom Vanya. She tells him about her wonderful dream. Seeing Martha's madness, Gryaznoy is horrified to be convinced that he was deceived in his hopes: instead of bewitching, he ruined her. Unable to endure the mental anguish at the sight of the suffering of his beloved, Gryaznoy confesses to the crime he has committed: he poisoned Marfa and slandered the innocent Lykov. Lyubasha runs out of the crowd to meet him and confesses that she has changed the potion. Filled with rage, Gryaznoy kills Lyubasha.