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Cover to Original Vocal Score


Der lila Domino

Operetta in 3 acts: Libretto by Emmerich von Gatti and Béla Jenbach; Music by Charles Cuvillier :

Stadttheater, Leipzig, 3 February, 1912

English version by Harry and Robert Smith with additional songs by Howard Carr & Donovan Parsons. Revised 1953 version by H.F. Maltby : 44th Street Theatre, New York - October 28, 1914
Additional dialogue by S.J. Adair Fitzgerald; additional musical numbers by Howard Carr and Donovan Parsons; Empire Theatre, London - February 21, 1918 (747 perfs);


Three young men have lost heavily at cards, so heavily that they agree one must wed an heiress wealthy enough to keep them all in chips. The Lilac Domino tells how they fare in their quest.



It is gala night at the Hôtel Parnasse in Nice, and a masquerade is in progress. Guests are gathered in a lounge leading to the ballroom, when a girl runs in excitedly with the news that the wealthy old Lyon silk merchant Gaston Le Sage has found himself a young widow as his third wife.

Le Sage enters with his young bride-to-be, Léonie, but, although he fusses around her attentively, she seems to be more interested in his nephew, Paul Dorien. Gaston promised Paul's mother, Gaston's late step-sister, that Paul would eventually be married to Gaston's own daughter, Georgine. The two are due to be reunited the following day after some years apart, but Paul seems to have no great interest either in women in general or Georgine in particular. Léonie, however, attempts to bring the boy out a little, offering him advice from her own experience.

Elsewhere in the lounge are to be found a couple of expatriate Englishmen — Major Montague Drake, a dapper, regimental type, and a young man named Bertie Raymond. Both of them are somewhat down on their luck and they have to struggle from day to day to finance their gambling interests. They are hoping that their friend Jack Allison may have succeeded in raising more cash, but he is currently putting his gambling interests to one side in favour of the pursuit of romance. Jack is, in reality, the Duke of Everset, but he has chosen to hide his aristocratic identity since he settled on the Riviera because of the way prices are put up when a titled gentleman approaches.

Georgine, Gaston's eighteen-year-old daughter, appears accompanied by Madame Delcasse, the principal of her finishing school. Madame Delcasse is evidently concerned to keep Georgine on the straight and narrow and she has only agreed to attend the masquerade under pressure from Georgine herself. Georgine is determined to enjoy the champagne that is flowing freely, and to see what fate may produce for her in the form of a mate. She promises Madame Delcasse that she will not remove her mask and she is unrecognisable under her domino when Gaston and Paul come upon her and begin chatting. She conjures up an air of mystique as she introduces herself to them merely as the Lilac Domino.

Drake, Bertie Raymond and Jack Allison reappear. Jack has now lost all his remaining money, but a possible remedy for their troubles is at hand. When they seek solace in music from the gipsy orchestra, the leader Krovani reveals himself as a representative of a matrimonial agency and produces a list of wealthy ladies seeking husbands. The three friends reckon that they are on to a winner when they find on the list a young lady of eighteen, the daughter of a Lyon silk merchant and fresh from finishing school. The only question is which of them should be forced into matrimony for the good of the others. The problem is resolved by a throw of the dice, which Jack wins.

Meanwhile, the men come upon the figure of the Lilac Domino, who has passed out under the influence of too much unaccustomed champagne. Jack kisses her and wakes her up and, after a brief display of reluctance, the two of them waltz away together.


In the garden of Le Sage's villa near Monte Carlo, a cocktail party and informal dance are being held to celebrate Georgine's coming out and her engagement to Paul. Léonie is still looking for some real sign of tender recognition from Gaston and, when he appears with a young lady on each arm, she challenges his devotion to her. She proposes that he should give her a million francs if he should be discovered flirting with a young lady within the next forty-eight hours, and Gaston agrees to write out the cheque there and then. Léonie can retain it as a hostage.

When Gaston has gone, Léonie turns her attentions to Paul and tests him on the training that she has been giving him in readiness for wooing Georgine. However, Paul's parting shot is an admission that he is in love with Léonie. Major Drake and Bertie Raymond arrive, having followed up the details of Georgine issued by Krovani's matrimonial agency, and they press upon Gaston the claims of the Duke of Everset as a suitor for Georgine, undeterred by Gaston's insistence that she is already promised. The Major reckons that Jack will never be persuaded to come to the house to meet Georgine, but Bertie explains that he has sought to trick Jack there by claiming that he will find there the mysterious Lilac Domino over whom he has so completely lost his head. They both feel pretty pleased with themselves as they mature their little plot.

The arrival of the Duke of Everset is duly announced, and Jack immediately greets Georgine as his Lilac Domino. Georgine naturally rejects the suggestion that she could have been at a masquerade, and Madame Delcasse adds forcefully that she would never have allowed Georgine to visit such an event. Jack's two friends try to persuade him to forget the Lilac Domino nonsense and concentrate on the heiress. They tell him that the invitation was just their trick to get him there, but Jack is not to be put off. He insists that the voice of the Lilac Domino remains in his mind as clear as a bell, and he knows that that voice was Georgine's.

Drake and Raymond are delighted to see how well Jack and Georgine are getting on — so much so that they indulge in some impromptu dancing with Léonie, Gaston and Paul — while Paul has now quite definitely decided that he is in love with Léonie. Whenever he and Georgine get together they squabble like the children they were when they last met, and they are quite resolved not to marry each other. So, while Paul returns to Léonie, Georgine now welcomes Jack's expressions of love.

The radiantly happy Georgine bumps into Krovani, who has arrived to provide the music for the occasion. He has been instructed to remove Georgine's name from his list of matrimonial prospects, as her engagement to her cousin is to be announced that evening. Seeing her looking so happy, he comments on the joy of true love. It is a far cry from the situation at the masquerade he recently attended where three gentlemen threw dice to decide which one should find a wife purely for her money. Somewhat the worse for wine, Krovani carelessly adds the name of the winner of the gamble — the Duke of Everset! Georgine is horrified.

Now Jack is brought in blindfolded to test whether he really can recognise his Lilac Domino but Georgine bitterly renounces him and declares that her hand is Paul's. She will have nothing to do with Jack's assurance that, though he did indeed throw the dice, his love for Georgine is real.


It is carnival night at the Café de Paris, Monte Carlo, and the guests are all in fancy dress. Jack has arranged a private supper, and Drake and Raymond are surprised and concerned to learn that he intends it as a farewell, even though he seems to have little idea of where he is going to go. They attempt to reassure him with the news that they have selected another likely candidate from the matrimonial list to restore their fortunes, and this time they will take on the challenge. Krovani provides more realistic reassurance with the news that he has told Georgine, Léonie and Madame Delcasse the full story of what had happened and they are on their way to the Café de Paris.

As the evening progresses, Drake becomes involved in a party game with a bunch of girls and the revels continue unabated. Georgine, Léonie and Madame Delcasse have appeared, with Georgine obviously much distressed, and Gaston and Paul arrive separately. Gaston is much taken by the sight of Madame Delcasse and, indeed, he is soon alone with her, flirting madly until Léonie catches them about to embrace. Léonie has won her million francs from Gaston, and, no longer in need of him for his money, she turns to Paul.

Gaston is furious at this turn of events, but only for as long as it takes Madame Delcasse to offer a few words of comfort and affection. She also points out to Gaston how well it would sound to have the Duchess of Everset as a daughter and, by the time that the guests are enjoying supper, almost all the romantic pairings are resolved. Then Georgine comes to bid Jack a fond farewell and, before long, his little Lilac Domino has accepted his offer of marriage. The news that one of his estates has been sold for a large sum of money is merely the icing on their future wedding cake.

Taken from Ganzl's Book of the Musical Theatre


Characters - Revised

Gaston le Sage, a wealthy Lyon silk merchant
Paul Dorien, his nephew
Léonie Menonnier, a merry widow
Major Montague Drake, Bertie Raymond, Jack Allison expatriate remittance men
Krovani, leader of a gipsy orchestra
Georgine, Le Sage's daughter
Madame Delclasse, principal of a finishing school for young ladies
Marcel, Le Sage's Butler

Waiters, dominoes, maskers, dancers, guests

Characters - Original

Cornelius Cleveden - An American multi-millionaire
Leoni Forde - Georgine's Friend
Elliston Deyn - Cleveden's Nephew
Prosper Woodhouse - An American friend of André
Norman J. Calmain - A Friend of everybody
Maxmilian - A Waiter
The Hon André d'Aubigny - A young Englishman "seeing U.S.A."
Carabana - Conductor of Spanish Gypsy Orchestra
Georgine - Col Cleveden's Daughter
The Baroness de Villiers - Social companion to Georgine
Parker - One of Cleveden's Butlers

Dominoes, Maskers, Dancers and Guests

Setting :

Revised version:

Nice and Monte Carlo

Original version:

Act I - The lounge at the Pavilion de Danse in the Baccarat Hotel, Palm Beach, Florida during a Domino Party
Act II - The Roman pergola in the garden of Colonel Cleveden's villa. A Lawn party is in progress.
Act III - Court of the Palms during high Carnival

Principal Numbers:

Revised Version

  1. No Fools Like Old Fools - Company
  2. We Girls Don't Like Them Shy - Léonie
  3. Let the Gypsies Play - Jack
  4. My Fate - Georgine
  5. The Lilac Domino - Georgine
  6. Finale Act I: This Seems to Me a Tricky Business - Drake, Bertie, Raymond, Jack
  7. For Your Love I Am Waiting - Léonie
  8. A Pretty Pair - Montague & Bertie
  9. Hello! Lilac Domino! - Jack with Georgine
  10. Bells of Bon Secour - Jack
  11. Dancing, Dancing - Drake, Raymond, Jack, Georgine, Léonie, Gaston and Paul
  12. What Has Gone - Georgine
  13. Finale Act II: - Seek, Find, Love's Blind
  14. Carnival Night
  15. All Line Up in a Queue - Drake and Girls
  16. Ah! Ah! Ah! / Tarantella - Girls
  17. We Girls Don't Like Them Shy (Reprise) - Léonie
  18. Carte de jour - Guests
  19. Finale Act III: The Domino! The Lilac Domino! - Company

Original Version 

  1. Overture
  2. Opening Chorus - Colonel, Leoni, Elliston & Dominoes
  3. DUET - True Love Will Find a Way - Leoni and Elliston
  4. SONG - Let the Music Play - André and guests
  5. DUET - Where Love Is Waiting - Georgine and Baroness
  6. TRIO - The Lilac Domino - Georgine, Elliston, Colonel & Guests
  7. DUET & DANCE Still We Smile - Prosper & Norman
  8. SONG & CHORUS - For Your Love I'm Waiting - (Words by D.S. Parsons. Music by Howard Carr) - Leoni and guests
  9. DUET & CHORUS - Song of the Chimes - Georgine, André & Chorus
  10. QUINTETTE - Ladies' Day - Leoni, Elliston, Prosper, Norman & Colonel
  11. DUET - What Is Done You Can Never Undo - Georgine and André
  12. SONG & CHORUS - Carnival Night - Elliston & Revellers
  13. Film Music
  14. CHORUS - Ah! Ah! Ah! - Chorus
  15. Tarantella
  16. CHORUS - King Carnival - Chorus
  17. SONG & CHORUS All Line Up in a Queue - (Words by D.S. Parsons. Music by Howard Carr) - Prosper & Chorus
  18. Finale - André, Georgine & Ensemble