In a park in St. Petersburg, governesses and nurses mind their charges. A troop of children playing soldiers drills. Two army officers, Chekalinsky and Sourin, discuss the previous evening's gambling, during which their friend Gherman placed no bets. Count Tomsky notices that Gherman is distracted. Confessing that he's in love, Gherman admits that he doesn't know her name, only that his passion for her is hopeless. The adults in the park enjoy the first day of spring. Prince Yeletsky is congratulated on his recent engagement, while Gherman thinks only of his own torment. When the Countess appears, Yeletsky identifies her granddaughter Lisa as his fiancée. She is also the young woman with whom Gherman is obsessed, and he is left in despair.