Romanian vaudeville-singer Sylva Varescu loves the young noble Edwin, but is not allowed to marry him. His father, prince Lippert-Weylersheim, insists that Edwin marry his cousin, countess Stasi. Edwin promises Sylva in writing that he would marry her within eight weeks. When she learns of his engagement, she disappointedly leaves to go to a foreign country. Only shortly before the end of the eight week period, Sylva appears again, apparently the wife of a count, at the ball of the royal couple, at which the engagement of Edwin and Stasi is supposed to be announced. Immediately, Edwin has new hope. Now, Sylva is – according to him – noble as well, and after a divorce he could marry her without hesitation. The disappointed Sylva, however, rebuffs him and reveals her true origin: she is no countess, she is the »Gypsy Princess«. The scandal seems perfect! Only a surprising unveiling of Edwin’s mother ensures the long-awaited happy end.
In the summer of 1913, Emmerich Kálmán began work on »The Gypsy Princess«, which back then was still titled »Long lives Love!«, in the Rosenvilla in Bad Ischl (where Giacomo Meyebeer, Johannes Brahms and Franz Lehár have also stayed). The Hungarian composer needed nearly three years for his piece, which then became a complete success. As the curtain rose for the first time on the 17th of November 1915 in the Johann-Strauss-Theater in Vienna, the audience became witness to the birth of a global success. Kálmáns music skilfully combines the melancholy of the Hungarian Csárdás with the elegance of the Viennese Waltz and new elements of pop music. Melodies like »Girls are the thing«, »Where are they now?«, »The ladies up on stage«, »Let’s do what the swallows do« or »Jaj, Mamám, Bruderherz« became catchy tunes and went out from Vienna to the world. After the first, silent film (1927) two extremely successful sound films followed, with Martha Eggerth and Hans Söhnker (1934), as well as Marika Rökk and Johannes Heesters (1951).