(Note: Instead of traditional acts, Sadko is divided in seven scenes, and, as that type of structure would suggest, is more loosely constructed than a traditional opera. The opera is usually performed in three or five acts, depending on how the scenes are grouped:
The opera tells the story of Sadko, a gusli player (guslar), who leaves his wife, Lubava, and home in Novgorod and eventually returns a wealthy man. During his years of travel he amasses a fortune, weds the daughter of the King and Queen of the Ocean and has other adventures. Upon his return, the city and Lubava rejoice.