Bearing little resemblance to reality, this musical biography of 19th century Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov takes liberal poetic license with the truth. Jeanne-Pierre Aumont stars as Nicky, a Naval Academy cadet assigned to a vessel undergoing a world cruise. On shore leave in Morocco, Nicky goes in search of a piano intending to pursue his true passion, music. Accompanied by the ship's singing doctor, Klin (Charles Kullmann), Nicky makes the acquaintance of a cabaret dancer named Cara de Talavera (Yvonne De Carlo). The daughter of a Spanish colonial family that was once prominent but has fallen upon difficult times, Cara now dances in secret as Scheherazade in a revue at the nightclub. Inspired by her, Nicky sets about composing his most famous song for inclusion in a ballet. Although fate conspires to keep Cara and Nicky apart for a time, his piece is a success and is scheduled for a performance at the St. Petersburg Opera House, where none other than Cara turns up as the lead dancer.