A comic opera in 3 acts. Music by Victor Herbert ; Book and Lyrics by Harry B. Smith

Broadway Theatre, New York - 16th November 1903 - 9th January, 1904 (59 perfs)


Babette is a village letter writer in Antwerp during the days of Spanish domination. With the help of a soldier of fortune, Mondragon, she enlists the aid of the king of France to overthrow the despotic rule.

Musical Numbers

Act I - Garden of Van Tympel's House near Antwerp.

  1. Opening Chorus - "Swing the arm, and toss the sphere swiftly o'er the verdant moss; little reck' we care or fear, naught we care for gain or loss..."
  2. Song - Mondragon and Chorus - "Let others waste their time pursuing the fleeting phantoms, wealth and fame. Such bubbles are not worth the wooing..."
  3. Duet - Mondragon and Vinetta - "Here is a song to you, fair maid, on the other side of the wall, though I know well you're a fickle jade..."
  4. Entrance of Babette - "Here's Babette ... Here's Babette, the letter writer, come and set your mind at ease ... Here's Babette; welcome, Babette..."
  5. Song - Babette - "In pursuit of my profession many letters strange I write; sometimes 'tis a love confession, sometimes challenges to fight..."
  6. Song - Tympel and Chorus - "Oh, the clockmaker's trade is a right good trade and a thrifty trade as well, for the good old clocks that for you are made..."
  7. Duet - Marcel and Babette - "My subject is so fair a creature, no artist could her charm portray, nor realize her grace of feature on canvass..."
  8. Finale Act I - Babette, Marcel, Mondragon and Chorus - "My friends, to arms! Come, all, to arms, 'tis the Nation calls! Defend our native land..."

Act II - A Roadside Inn near Brussels.

  1. Opening Chorus - "Kermess day of all the year is the merriest of all, and so now that Kermess day let us all obey the call..."
  2. Chorus, Trio - Baltazar, Vinetta and Van Dyk - "Hey! hey! the coach ... Hey! hey! the coach ... the coach approaches, hurrah! ..."
  3. Dance
  4. Song - Mondragon and Chorus - "What would you buy, merry gentlemen all? For bargains each man of us strives, I've frippery furbelows, trinkets..."
  5. Romanza - Marcel - "If I could look into your eyes and see the love-light there, there were no knight in armor bright but might of me beware..."
  6. Entrance of Babette, Van Tympel and Eva - "To the sound of the pipe and the roll of the drum, the strolling comedians hitherward come..."
  7. Song - Babette - "Once young Pierrot the gay the free, fell deep in love as deep could be, with Columbine so fair to see, and sighed so sadly: woe is me..."
  8. Sextette - Marcel, Van Tympel, Eva, Mondragon, Katrina and Theresa - "There once was an owl, an intelligent fowl, so they tell me..."
  9. Entrance of Guzman and Musketeers - "When troopers ride into a town with chargers urged by the spur, there's never a girl but her head's in a whirl..."
  10. Finale Act II - "Hail! Duchess young and fair, of aristocratic air, never may your beauty fail! Here's hail, Duchess, hail! ..."

Act III - Versailles.

  1. Opening Chorus - "Stately grace! Rhythmic tread! Trip the newest dance of sword and fan. Proudly posed! Haughty head ..."
  2. Entrance of Principals as Spanish Envoys - "We've come from the land of sunny, sunny Spain ... and a hearing by royalty we wish to gain..."
  3. Madrigal - "My lady of the manor may be fair, may be fair. Hey nonny O, none shall say her nay. But Dolly of the milking pail may have as golden hair..."
  4. Butterfly Waltz Song - Babette - "Ah... Where the fairest flow'rs are blooming in the summer air 'neath the azure sky, I would dwell 'mid their perfuming..."
  5. Finale Act III - "Say farewell to all; one and all must happy be. I invite you to my wedding; none shall be as gay as we..."


  • Babette- (a village letter writer, afterward a Court prima donna)
  • Mondragon - (a soldier of fortune)
  • Marcel - (a painter, in love with Babette)
  • Baltazar - (a professional conspirator)
  • Vinette - (his daughter)
  • Van Tympel - (a clock-maker)
  • Eva - (his wife)
  • The King of France
  • Guzman - (a Spanish officer)
  • Schnapps - (a tavern keeper)
  • Captain Walther
  • Jan
  • Quentin
  • Margot
  • Greta
  • Joan  
(Village Girls)
  • Coachman
  • Footman
  • Mlle. de la Motte
  • Mlle. de Rohan
  • Mlle. Fontanges  
(Maids of Honour)
  • Marquis de Villette
  • Count de Courville
  • Duc de St. Michel  
  • François
  • Henri
  • Gaston
  • Jacque
  • Laurent
  • Theresa
  • Katrina

Scenes and settings                                    

Act 1: - Garden of Van Tympel's House near Antwerp.
Act 2: - A Roadside Inn near Brussels.
Act 3: - Versailles.

Period: Seventeenth Century.

Babette  US Cast Recording