Synopsis: L'incontro improvviso

from Joseph Haydn

The Unforseen Encounter

Forced from his homeland by his brother, Prince Ali has found shelter with the king of Persia. He and the king's daughter Rezia are in love - though they know she has been promised to another. They escape by ship, are captured by pirates and are separated.

Ali arrives in Cairo where Rezia is now in the sultan's harem. Ali
receives a request for an anonymous assignation, which he reluctantly accepts, though he takes the precaution of taking his servant Osmin along.
Ali is offered a beautiful slave but turns her away, whereupon Rezia (who is behind this test of his virtue) emerges to hug Ali with joy, reassuring him that she has so far managed to avoid the sultan's bed.

The lovers are captured before they can flee. Just as their heads are about to be removed, the sultan has a change of heart and agrees to their marriage.