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The Prima Donna

(Made in America)

A Comic Opera in 2 Acts . Libretto by Henry Blossom. Music by Victor Herbert. Lyrics by Henry Blossom

Knickerbocker Theatre, Broadway - Opened 30th November, 1908; closed 30th January, 1909 (72 perfs)


An auto accident strands Mlle. Athenée, prima donna of the Paris Opera, in front of a nightclub. While waiting for repairs, she consents to sing a song written by Lt. Armand, Count de Fontenne. He falls in love with her and, when she repulses the advances of Captain Bordenave, agrees to renounce his fiancée and marry Athenée.

Musical Numbers

first lines

  1. Overture
  2. Opening Scene, with Pop's piano - "You're charmante! Say oui! Let us be bons amis. Don't delay! Name the day..."
  3. Song - Max Gundelfinger - "I've had as much experience as any dozen men, a-dodging in and out from Cupid's dart..."
  4. Trio (singers unspecified) - "I remember when we both were gay young sparks! ... I was not yet quite twenty! ..."
  5. Song and Chorus (soloist unspecified) - "Poets may sing of the beauties of spring, or the stars shining softly above..."
  6. Song - Athenée - "Dreaming, I have in seeming lived in a fairyland! Castles had I, and vassals had I to kiss my hand..."
  7. Choral Ensemble - "Boujour! Holla! Deux bock! Soldiers we love song and dance in any old key! ..."
  8. Song (singer unspecified) - "Let me tell to you, mon cher, of a horrible affair zat happened en route from gay Paree! ..."
  9. Song - Athenee - "Once a little soldier, little wooden soldier in a little Punch and Judy show, loved a little dancer..."
  10. Band Behind Scene
  11. Finale Act I - "Tra la la la la la! Soldier's life is never long! So drink from pleasure's cup..."
  12. Opening Scene and Chorus, with on-stage band - "Isn't it beautiful weather today? Yes, after the storm! ..."
  13. Song - Lieut. Gaston de Rendal - "There are certain traits of character that many men display..."
  14. Duet - Helene and Fernand - "If you were I, and I were you ... What would you do? ..."
  15. Band Behind Scene
  16. Octette - "Deep underneath the ocean I know such a pretty land, far from the billows motion it lies on a coral strand."
  17. Octette - "Said the man unto the maid: 'Won't you let me steal a little kiss, dear?' ..."
  18. Song - Grundelfinger and Men - "Dere are many kinds of art! Each one plays a useful part, moosic is greatest..."
  19. Finale Act II - "I'll be married to de music of a military band! And ven I take her by de hand, I'll feel so grand..."

Musical Numbers

Titles (from Theatre programme)

  1. Opening Chorus - There's Only One Rose in the Garden of Love
  2. Something Always Happens When It Shouldn't - Max
  3. Here's to My Comrades and Me
  4. Dream Love (`Twas Only Dreaming) - Athenée
  5. A Soldier's Life Is Never Long - Ensemble and Chorus
  6. Oh! Oh! Oh!
  7. Ballet Waltz
  8. O Mia Speranza
  9. A Soldier's Love! - Athenée
  10. Finale Act 1 - Chorus
  11. Opening Chorus Act 2 - Ensemble
  12. The One You're Looking For
  13. When Girls Command the Army
  14. Everybody Else's Girl Looks Better to Me Than Mine - Gaston
  15. What Is Love (Octette)
  16. A Man and a Maid (Octette)
  17. I'll Be Married to the Music of a Military Band - Max
  18. Espagnola - Athenée
  19. Finale


Scenes and Settings