A forest near Domremy
Thibaut, father of Joan, wants her to marry Raymond. Joan refuses, declaring that she must follow her divine destiny. Enraged, her father accuses her to be in league with the devil. News arrives that the English are devastating nearby villages. Joan inspires all to hope because Salisbury, the English commander, is destined to perish. When a soldier brings news of the death of Salisbury; all sing hanks to the Lord. Joan bids farewell to save France.
At the Castle of Chinon
The minstrels sing and gypsies dance to amuse King Charles VII and his mistress Agnиs Sorel. The vassal Dunois informs the King that the royal treasure is exhausted. He urges the King to take arms. To the disdain of Dunois, Agnиs offers him to contribute her own money to finance the war. The archbishop receives a report of a miracle — the French have won thanks to troops led by a young girl. Joan presents herself to the King, telling him her story. The King gives her command of the army.
Giovanna engages in a duel with Lionel, a Burgundian allied with the English. But when she is about to strike the deadly blow, Joan sees his face, evoking tender pity. They immediately fall in love. Lionel swears allegiance to the French cause. At the cathedral of Reims a great crowd forms to celebrate Charles’ coronation. Thibaut publicly accuses Joan of witchcraft. Dunois defends her and the archbishop questions her. Feeling guilty of her love for Lionel, Joan remains silent. Lionel implores her to run away; but she accuses him that his love has caused her downfall.
In the forest
Lionel and Joan embrace. A choir of angels sings a warning to the girl: she has betrayed her divine mission She must therefore suffer before she receives salvation. An English contingent arrives, killing Lionel and capturing Joan.
At the old market of Rouen
The English condemn Joan to the stake for being a witch. Joan asks Dunois for a cross, which he gives her. As the fire consumes her, the celestial voices promise her a place next to God.
Music composed by Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky to his own libretto after Friedrich von Schiller’s Die Jungfrau von Orleans (1801), tragedy translated by Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky, Jules Barbier’s Jeanne d’Arc and Auguste Mermet’s libretto for his own opera, after Barbier (1876), with various details adapted from Henri Wallon’s biography of Joan of Arc.