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The celebrated operetta star Manon Cavallini has all the men lying at her feet. Raoul Severac, who attends her performances at the theatre every evening, is also hopelessly in love with her – much to the annoyance of young Lucy Paillard, who is completely smitten with the bachelor and is determined to marry him. Therefore Lucy implores her father to arrange a meeting between herself and Cavallini, so that Lucy can plead with her to turn Raoul down and leave him to Lucy. What the young girl doesn’t know is that Manon is her mother, and that her father has used the courts to deny Manon any contact with their daughter. Out of love for her child, Manon turns Raoul down. During an intimate dinner, she shows Raoul her permissive lifestyle, and draws his attention to Lucy.
After Raoul and Lucy are married, Lucy learns of a secret meeting between her husband and Cavallini. Suspecting an affair, Lucy is hellbent on revenge, there and then deciding to betray her husband with a family friend, the tennis champion Fernand Maupreux. Yet Manon manages to foil the affair by luring Maupreux into a chambre séparée and there guiding all his amorous attentions onto herself. When Lucy appears, Manon reveals herself to be her mother, instantly dispelling all the jealousy: Lucy’s marriage is saved – and mother and daughter are finally united!
Enter: Dagmar Manzel and Max Hopp. She plays: Manon Cavallini, the opera diva, Raoul Severac, her suitor, as well as the father of her daughter Lucy. He plays: this very same daughter, all five of Cavallini’s lovers, and on top of that, Lucy’s family friend. In further roles – Dagmar Manzel and Max Hopp!
Twenty characters, two performers. A breathless tour de force with an orchestra, conducted by Adam Benzwi, that serves up a firework display of fast-paced marches, tempestuous waltzes and incomparable chansons composed by Oscar Straus. »After just 90 minutes, one feels totally drunk on so much energy, intellect and wit.« [Berliner Morgenpost] »Dazzling. Overwhelming. Astonishing.« [Die Welt]
The Vienna-born Oscar Straus, one of the most famous operetta and film composers in the 1920s and 1930s and who enjoyed success at Arnold Schönberg's Überbrettl cabaret composer college in Berlin and also in exile in Hollywood, premièred his operetta with Fritzi Massary in the main role and featuring brisk marches, tempestuous waltzes and incomparable chansons such as »What Is This Thing Called Love« and »Why shouldn't a woman have an affair« to great acclaim in 1932 at the legendary Metropol Theater, today the Komische Oper Berlin. She should. For a woman who knows what she wants!
Text by Alfred Grünwald based on work by Louis Verneuil