Prague in the 1860s: Balduin is a popular, handsome student, the best fencer in town, in amicable rivalry with his friend Dahl for the affections of Lydia, the innkeeper's niece. While the students are celebrating Lydia's birthday, the opera singer Julia Stella arrives at the inn - and Balduin's life begins to unravel. He is immediately infatuated with the glamorous singer - but she is already kept by an admirer, the wealthy and foppish Baron Waldis. How can a poor student hope to compete? The mysterious Dr. Carpis, who also has ties to Julia and is jealous of the Baron, intervenes. But the price will be higher than Balduin can ever imagine. He risks his sanity and his life - perhaps his very soul - haunted by his own reflection.