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After Rosa, an attractive ballerina, performs for a group at the home of Emery and Kathleen Gerard, Emery, whose philandering ways with past protégées has upset Kathleen, offers to send Rosa to study in Paris for six months. To get back at her husband, Kathleen offers to pay for voice teacher Mme. Schumann-Heink's pupil, Nino Donelli, to study in Paris. Although Nino is distraught at the thought of taking money from a woman, Schumann-Heink, who thinks that he could become the greatest singer in the world, convinces him that the world must hear his voice no matter whose money is spent. Later, when the Gerards visit Paris, Nino has fallen in love with ballerina Lydia Lubov. After Emery learns that Rosa has married, his attention turns to Lydia, who becomes increasingly jealous at Nino's supposed interest in the infatuated Kathleen. After an argument, Nino tells Lydia that he will refuse more money from Kathleen and will work his way to stardom from the provinces like other singers. When Kathleen hears of his plans, she secretly arranges for Nino's debut by buying out the house and paying 10,000 francs for his salary. On the day of his debut, Lydia learns from Emery, who is leaving for New York, that Kathleen has put up the money. Although Nino denies this, Lydia refuses to believe him and accepts Emery's offer to help her come to America. Just before the opera begins, Nino learns from Andriot, the tenor he is replacing, of Kathleen's scheme. Furious, he starts to sing the opening aria, which is sung from behind the curtain, but falters, and Andriot goes on in his place. Later in New York, Carstairs, the head of the Metropolitan Opera Company, will not see Nino because of his disgrace in Paris. When Nino sees an ad for Lydia's performance, he attends and begins to sing uncontrollably from the audience as she dances. He apologizes backstage, but leaves when he sees Emery. After Kathleen happens by chance to hear Nino sing at a five-and-ten cents store's sheet music counter, she tells Schumann-Heink, who arranges for her to meet Carstairs at tea. Overwhelmed with women's requests for him to hear their tenors, Carstairs brushes off Kathleen. Meeting Lydia at the tea, Kathleen reveals that Nino did not know of her scheme in Paris and tells her about seeing him at the store. Lydia succeeds in getting Carstairs to the store, and when he hears Nino, he signs him. After Nino performs in La Tosca , the Gerards reconcile, as do he and Lydia, although he still thinks that he succeeded without anybody's help.