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“Elisabeth: Rondo of Love and Death”

Can Death fall in love with a woman and can she love death in return?

Witness the inception of the “Rondo of Love and Death.”

About 100 years after the assassination of Empress Elisabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the trial of assassin Luigi Lucheni was still ongoing in the purgatorial court.

“The empress herself desired death upon her.”

Lucheni answers thusly when asked the reason for his murder of Elisabeth.
One by one, he summons the souls of the dead to testify and recount the bizarre fate of the late Empress.

What did Elisabeth want and love?

As a knowing witness to that question, Der Tod, the lord of the underworld, appears from the deepest darkness to tell his story:

About Elisabeth’s greatest love.

The story begins in the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1853.
Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth spent her youthful days with great freedom, in keeping with her admiration for her father’s way of unrestrained living, free from structure and custom.
One day, Elisabeth was severely injured when she fell during a daring tightrope walk and lapsed into unconsciousness.
Death himself greeted Elisabeth, who was wandering between life and death, at the entrance to the underworld. When he was about to give her the kiss of death...
Der Tod was mesmerized by Elisabeth’s spirited eyes that looked straight at him.
Der Tod was shaken by the first love that he had ever felt.
He was compelled to continue chasing her forever, until the day she wished for death.
Having made his decision, Der Tod returned Elisabeth to the world of the living.

The Austrian Empire was ruled at that time by the young Emperor Franz Joseph I.
However, Franz’s mother, Princess Sophie, was the true power behind the throne. To ensure the security and longevity of the Hapsburgs, Sophie arranged a marriage meeting between Franz Joseph I and Helene, daughter of her sister, Ludovika, and invited them to a summer retreat in Bad Ischl.
While Sophie’s intended future wife for her son was Helene, first cousin of Franz and older sister of Elisabeth, a quirk of fate awaited at their first meeting—
Franz fell in love with Elisabeth, who was accompanying her sister and mother. Captivated by the charming Elisabeth, Franz proposed that he and Elizabeth spend the rest of their lives together.
Though startled by the sudden proposal, Elisabeth willingly accepted the Emperor’s words of devotion.

On April 24, 1854, the two were wed at St. Augustine’s Church in Vienna.
With Franz and Elisabeth believing in their eternal love, Der Tod watched over them with firm conviction:

“I shall be the one to win her over in the end.”