Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac opens in the Hotel de Bourgogne right before a play is about to begin. Everyone who becomes important in Rostand's play is gathered to watch the production--everyone except Cyrano. He eventually appears and is solely responsible for the show's abrupt finish. This, of course, does not endear him to the audience, and they demand their money be returned.
Cyrano does not particularly care that the crowd is unhappy; he is more concerned that a bad actor has been effectively removed from the stage. Nevertheless, Cyrano uses his own money to reimburse the audience members. This act begins to win over the crowd. The next event in the story wins them over completely--all but Cyrano's eventual nemesis, De Guiche.
De Guiche prompts the weak-spined Valvert to insult Cyrano's prodigious nose. The insult is weak, and Cyrano delivers a brilliant speech denouncing the man's insipid insult. The result is a sword fight during which Cyrano both outfights Valvert and composes a ballad as he fights. Valvert is dead and the audience is captivated by Cyrano's prowess with both words and sword. This is how he wins them over despite their earlier anger with him.