Operetta in three acts. (Music by Franz Lehár: Book and lyrics by Alfred Maria Willner and Robert Bodanzky: *English by Adam Carstairs)
Theater an der Wien, Vienna 24 November, 1911
Eva, the foster-child of Bernard Larousse, the foreman of a glass factory in Brussels, is celebrating her twentieth birthday. She is immediately attracted to Octave Flaubert, the dashing son of the owner of the factory who has arrived to take over the management of his father's business. Octave tries to seduce Eva and as a result finds himself in opposition to Larousse and the factory workers who are anxious to defend Eva's honour. Eva, realising Octave's true intentions, runs away to Paris in disgust but, having tasted the life of the demi-monde, finally finds refuge in the arms of the love-sick Octave.
In the machine room of a glass factory near Brussels the workers are celebrating the twentieth birthday of their beloved goddaughter Eva. On this occasion the workers give her a savings deposit book with 1,200 francs. "As your trousseau someday when you get married", as Larousse, the head foreman, sobbingly admits. He is Eva's foster father and once loved her mother before she went off with another man, Eva's biological father.
But the other man left the single mother after her daughter's birth. In her despair she asked Larousse to take care of her daughter. Eva wonderfully beautiful ... with the radiant aura of the fairy tale's alluring glow. This dream of happiness can only with difficulty be brought into harmony with her sober, everyday existence in the factory, and so Eva longingly imagines herself in a world that is brighter than ours.
And it is precisely from this world, and precisely on her birthday, that the new factory owner comes. His name is Octave Flaubert, and he is still having difficulty adjusting to his new role: Up until now the young bon-vivant has made his home in Paris and is used to getting up at three in the afternoon! Fortunately, he finds a kindred spirit in Prunelles, the assistant bookkeeper. Among hypocrites, he is the only man with a sympathetic heart! If only his friend Dagobert, another rich heir, had not come blustering in together with Pepita Desiree Paquerette, a swindling seller of men's undergarments. The same lady spends her vacations seeking a deliverer to protect her from her supposedly violent husband.
Deliverer Dagobert has blind faith in her, calls her Pipsi, and has a rhyme to match. Prunelles, however, immediately recognises her as his last vacation playmate, while initially not intending to exploit this inside information. Then the noon bell rings, and the workers receive their new boss. He immediately gets him on their side by letting them have the rest of the day off and having Larousse hand out a thousand francs. He then meets Eva. Octave is surprised and overwhelmed by her beauty and offers to take her from the factory floor. Eva brusquely refuses to take over the typewriter in his office and avoids further advances by fleeing.
True to his motto, »If I don't go to Paris, then Paris comes to me!" Octave has invited his Parisian friends to his villa next to the factory. The mood is one of boisterous mirth, the ladies' wardrobe, "ultra-chic" and the gentlemen's state of mind, confused by Pipsi, around whom they all are swarming, who has suddenly announced in song, "Am neither a Miss nor Mrs! Pipsi manages to fend them off by Dagobert, who catches her with PruneIles, and who saves the situation by pretending to be her supposedly violent husband. Attracted by Parisian sophistication, Eva also make an unexpected appearance - observed only by Octave, who has been unable to get her off his mind ever since their first meeting.
He is delighted and succeeds in persuading her to come to his party, during which he wants to present her to his society. He of course furnishes his Cinderella with the corresponding outfit. Celebrated with enthusiasm by the revellers, Eva surrenders to the general champagne-induced giddy mirth. The workers rush into the room in order to reclaim their goddaughter, whom they believe has been seduced. But Eva does not want to go, and Octave shields her, standing in front of her. When the workers are about to take her away by force, Octave suddenly declares that she is his fiancée. The revolt is quashed! A little white lie was certainly in order. The main thing is - they believed it! Eva is flabbergasted for she too believed it.
The disillusioned Eva has fled with Pipsi to Paris, where within a short time she has undergone an astonishing transformation. Who would have thought that a little factory girl could become a much-wooed Parisienne? Eva herself is astonished and smoking a cigarette, too. Courted by the Duke of Morny, she leads the life of a demi-mondaine and plunges into the whirlpool of life. But the man whom she would like to forget suddenly surfaces: Octave, lured to Paris by Pipsi and Dagobert under false pretences. The two are surprised and overwhelmed - Octave by Eva's dazzling Paris appearance and Eva by the "fairy tale's alluring glow ... It gives you the king's son as your reward!"
2 Female, 4 Male, SATB Chorus.
- Eva - Soprano
- Pepita - Soprano
- Desiree - Soprano
- Paquerette - Soprano
- Pipsi - Soprano
- Octave Flaubert, (Fabriksbesitzer) - Tenor
- Prunelles (zweiter Buchhalter in der Fabrik Flaubert) - Baritone
- Dagobert Millefleurs, (Freund Flauberts) - Buffo Tenor
- Bernard Larousse (Actor, erster Werkführer in der Fabrik Flaubert)
- Voisin (erster Buchhalter in der Fabrik Flaubert)
- Mathieu (ein Diener im Hause Flauberg) - Bass Baritone
- Fredy und Teddy (Freunde Flauberts) - Baritones
- Introduktion - Heissa, juchheia (Larousse, Chor)
- Melodram und Lied - im heimlichen Dämmer der silbernen Ampel (Eva)
- Szene und Duett - Bestimmung, Fatum, das ist alles (Octave, Voisin, Prunelles)
- Auftritt und Duett - Nur keine Angst, hier kann nichts passieren (Pipsi, Dagobert)
- Duett - Um zwölfe in der Nacht (Pipsi, Octave)
- Finale Akt I. - Halt! Einen Augenblick, ihr Leute! (Eva, Octave, Prunelles, Larousse)
- Introduktion, Chor, Lied und Tanz - Retten Sie mich, Dagobert (Pipsi, Dagobert, Prunelles, Teddy, Fredy und Chor)
- Marsch - Hat man das erste Stiefelpaar vertreten (Tutti)
- Terzett - Rechts das Mannchen meiner Wahl (Pipsi, Dagobert, Prunelles)
- Melodram und Duet - Erschrecken Sie nicht (Eva, Octave)
- Lied - Octave, gesteh' dir's ein (Octave)
- Duett - Ziehe hin zu deinem Voter (Pipsi, Dagobert)
- Melodram und Duett - Eva, Sie sehen reizend aus (Eva, Octave)
- Finale Akt II. - Silentium, silentium (Eva, Pipsi, Octave, Dagobert, Teddy, Fredy und Chor, später Larousse und Arbeiter)
Language Versions: F. G. I. Sp.
*Selected arias only