Oscar Straus’s charming 1908 chamber opera is a comic take on an unusual boy-meets-girl scenario. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man, it is a fusion of Viennese operetta and British wit.
When Lieutenant Bumerli, a Swiss mercenary assisting the Serbian army in the Serbo-Bulgarian War, spontaneously takes refuge in the household of a Bulgarian general, he sets the hearts of all the women aflutter. But when he is recognized as a deserter, he ruins the general’s daughter Nadina’s upcoming wedding to a soldier. As it turns out, this is just as well—Bumerli and Nadina were destined for each other.