The Geisha (Operetta)

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Work data
Title: The geisha
Original title: The geisha
Shape: operetta
Original language: English
Music: Sidney Jones
Libretto : Owen Hall and Harry Greenbank
Premiere: April 25, 1896
Place of premiere: London
Place and time of the action: Japanese port city around 1895
  • Miss Molly Seamore ( mezzo-soprano )
  • Reginald Fairfax, whose fiancé, naval officer ( tenor )
  • O Mimosa San, a geisha ( soubrette )
  • Katana, captain of the Japanese bodyguard ( tenorbuffo )
  • Juliette, an interpreter ( alto )
  • Marquis Imari, Governor and Prefect of Police ( baritone )
  • Lady Constance Wynne ( soprano )
  • Wun-hi, the Chinese tea house owner (baritone)
  • Three officers (tenor and baritone)
  • A cadet (tenor)
  • Police Sergeant Takamini (baritone)
  • Four more geishas (soprano and alto)
  • Ladies, naval officers, coolies, guards, Japanese bridesmaids, geishas, ​​policemen ( choir and extras)

The Geisha is a two-act English operetta by Sidney Jones . The libretto was written by Owen Hall and Harry Greenbank. It premiered on April 25, 1896 at Daly's Theater in London .


Two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, large percussion and strings


The operetta is set in a Japanese port city at the time of its premiere, i.e. in the mid-1890s.

first act

Image: In a tea house

The British naval officer Reginald Fairfax has been stationed in a Japanese port town for a few weeks, far from his fiancée Molly Seamore. He often visits a tea house out of boredom. There he meets the enchanting geisha O Mimosa San and becomes friends with her. At Fairfax, it doesn't take long for friendly feelings to turn into love. However, his longing is not reciprocal; because O Mimosa San is only enthusiastic about Katana, the captain of the Japanese bodyguard.

The distinguished English aristocrat Constance Wynn is currently in Japan as a tourist. She is friends with Molly Seamore and also knows her groom Reginald Fairfax. To her horror, she finds out how he flirts with the geisha in intimate togetherness. She then contacts Molly and telegraphs her to come to Japan as soon as possible.

The heart of the governor and police prefect Imari is also kindled for the beautiful geisha. He's jealous that she's seen so often with the British officer lately. By virtue of his office, he decreed that the teahouse should be closed and auctioned off together with all geishas. He has the ulterior motive to come into the possession of O Mimosa San in this way. This in turn calls the interpreter Juliette, who in turn has a crush on Marquis Imari and would love to become Marquise Imari. She persuades Lady Wynn to outbid the Prefect of Police at the auction and thus acquire O Mimosa San. The plan works.

Marquis Imari buys the second geisha that is up for sale. She bears the name Roli Poli and seems to have only recently started her duty in the tea house, because the girl seems completely unknown to everyone. In truth, it is Molly Seamore, the bride of the English naval officer. She only disguised herself as a geisha so that she could better sneak into the tea house to find out what was true about the rumors about her fiancé.

Second act

Image: In a palace

When Roli Poli, alias Molly, realizes that the Marquis is preparing the wedding for her, she regrets her wrong play and looks for a way out to save the mess. She asks the interpreter Juliette to swap clothes with her. With that, Molly runs into open doors at Juliette, who is pleased to see the moment approaching that her most ardent wish will come true. After the ladies have swapped clothes, Molly manages to escape from the palace. Juliette is married to the Marquis and is now his rightful wife.

When Juliette drops her veil after the wedding party, Imari realizes that he has been tricked. His disappointment did not last long, however, because he quickly found a great liking for his new wife. Lady Wynn, who bought O Mimosa San at auction and is now the owner, gives the geisha freedom. Overjoyed, she goes straight to her beloved katana. Of course, at the end of the operetta, Molly and Reginald Fairfax also reunite as a couple. In future, the two want to keep a little distance from Japanese teahouses and geishas.


  • A Geisha's Life
  • The Amorous Goldfish
  • Love, love
  • The Jewel of Asia
  • Star of my soul
  • Jack's the Boy
  • Chon-kina
  • The Interfering Parrot
  • The Toy Monkey
  • Chin-Chin-Chinaman