Gypsies have set up camp on a river bank. It is evening. Aleko is amongst the gypsies; it is now two years since he has turned his back on society and roamed with the gypsies. Aleko and the young Zemfira once loved each other, but her passion quickly cooled off. Zemfira’s father remembers his own youth and unhappy love. Mariula remained faithful to him for just one year. Abandoning her young daughter she left him for someone else. Aleko cannot understand why the gypsy did not avenge himself this treachery; he himself, with no hesitation, would send his enemy, even though he were asleep, to the depths. But Zemfira and her secret lover, the Young Gypsy, think otherwise: love is free! The gypsies wish to dispel the gloomy mood that descends following the Old Man’s tale with some lively dancing. While dancing, Zemfira and the Young Gypsy take cover. Torturous jealousy grips Aleko’s soul. He spends the night in painful contemplation. The day dawns. Zemfira bids farewell to the Young Gypsy behind a burial mound. She makes haste, but Aleko is already there. In vain he attempts to revive Zemfira’s love. Possessed with jealousy, Aleko kills the lovers. Hearing the commotion, the gypsies appear. All of them as well as Zemfira’s father demand that the murderer leave them. Morning arrives. The gypsies depart. Aleko despairs – he is alone once more.