A comedian-buff («Buff») runs into the office of the opera director (the Impresario) with good news: he has received permission to set up a new theater, where he will become the main comedian. However, the director is skeptical: he knows exactly that theatrical squabbles can turn any comedian into a tragedian. One after another, aptly named candidates — Madame Herz («Heart»), Mademoiselle Silberklang («Silvern Sound») — arrive at the «audition».

The singers demonstrate their vocal art, both wanting to get the prime role and to be paid the most. This battle for status and fees results in discord, but Frank threatens not to start a theater company after all, which shuts everybody up (they need the work), and they all sing a happy song about artistic integrity, working together to create something good and then letting the audience decide who is best.