Frank the impresario has received a long-awaited invitation to attend a festival in the town of Rumburg ("Town of Glory"). He is totally perplexed, because right now his entire company comprises just one single person, the comic actor Buff. The ever-resilient and practical Buff takes it upon himself to organise an audition for the singers. One after another, candidates with symbolically meaningful names – Madame Herz ("Heart"), Mademoiselle Silberklang ("Silvern Sound"), Monsieur Vogelsang ("Birdsong") – arrive at the "audition". Each demonstrates his or her qualities, and each wants to be the lead – as well as the highest-paid. The competitive battle for status and fees results in discord, but Frank pacifies everyone with his call to abandon personal ambition and serve art together.