Elisabeth (musical)

Elisabeth is a Viennese, German-language musical commissioned by the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien (VBW), with book/lyrics by Michael Kunze and music by Sylvester Levay. It portrays the life and death of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I. It has been translated into seven languages and seen by over ten million spectators worldwide, making it the most successful German-language musical of all time. It has not yet been staged in the English-speaking countries.

MusicSylvester Levay
LyricsMichael Kunze
BookMichael Kunze
BasisThe life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Productions1992 Vienna
1996 Takarazuka Revue
1996 Budapest
1999 The Hague
1999 Karlstad
2000 Japan
2001 Essen
2003 Vienna revival
2004 Japan revival
2005 Turku
2005 Stuttgart
2007 Japanese tour
2006 Thun
2008 Berlin
2008 European tour
2012 Seoul
2012 South Korean tour
2012 Japan
2012 Vienna revival
2013 Seoul
2013 South Korean tour
2014 Shanghai
2015 Seoul
2015 Korean tour
2015 Japan revival
2015–16 European tour
2017–18 Netherlands
2018–19 Seoul
2019 Plzeň

In the United Kingdom, this musical is not performed even now, as one reason that it has very delicate contents in relation to the British royal family and Northern Ireland issue.

The circumstances of composing musicalEdit

Hungarian Sylvester Levay, who was active as the composer in the United States, secured the Grammy Award, etc., and German Michael Kunze, who was engaged in translation from numerous musicals written in English language to German language, born in Prague, Czech Republic, achieved success as a novelist, jointly started producing this musical, based on the principle of creating a work which had a view of the world that was different from musicals staged at Broadway theatre.

Michael Kunze related "I wanted to portray the demise of one era and one Dynasty, and at the same time, to portray the inner, psychological world of those who lived at that last moment.", as a reason for choosing the legendary Empress as the theme of this musical.

And he also stated "Elisabeth, who had a new and modern sensibility, foresaw the decline of the culture of the Royal court in the Habsburg Monarchy which represented the old era, however, I wanted to portray a drama that was not a nostalgic hobby, but that was also relevant to the present age, through one woman who pursued freedom more than anyone else, and therefore, who was attracted to "Death", even though who knew that it was impossible for her to escape from the sinking ship because she was captured in it."


The musical tells the story of Elisabeth ("Sisi"), the Empress of Austria, from her engagement and marriage in 1854 to her murder in 1898 at the hands of the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni, through the lens of her growing obsession with death, as her marriage and her empire crumble around her at the turn of the century.

This musical is set in Austria in the late 19th century, at the end of the Habsburg Monarchy, which reigned over Europe for a long time. Coincidentally, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria fell in love with Elisabeth at first sight, and she became the most beautiful Empress in the European Court at the age of 16. But she was tormented with friction against the Royal court which valued tradition and formality, and she left Vienna in the course of time, passing her days wandering around Europe where she was assassinated by Luigi Lucheni at the end of her journey.

Her life is veiled in mystery, and this musical solves it through the fictional existence of "Death" who obsesses and seduces her. This musical depicts the demise of the government by the Habsburg Empire in Central Europe and the germination of a new era.


The show opens in the "world of the dead", where Luigi Lucheni is being interrogated by a Judge as to why he has murdered the Empress Elisabeth. Lucheni claims that he did no more than what Elisabeth herself wanted, since all her life Elisabeth has been in love with Death himself – and vice versa. As his witnesses, Lucheni brings back the dead aristocracy of the bygone era and takes us to the past, where he serves as a sarcastic narrator of the events that lead to the transformation of the sweet and innocent Sisi to the revered and infamous Elisabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, and her decline through later years until her assassination.

At a young age, Sisi, grown up in a seemingly sorrowless environment, experiences her first encounter with Death, which launches a love–hate affair that will span her entire life. Lucheni claims that once Franz Joseph, the Emperor of Austria, picks Elisabeth as his bride – for once opposing his domineering mother Sophie – he begins a chain of events that will eventually topple the Habsburg Empire. Elisabeth herself very soon comes to regret her seemingly "fairy-tale marriage". She feels abandoned by her careless husband, psychologically abused by her possessive mother-in-law, and is chronically depressed due to her loneliness. There is only one thing that keeps her emotionally stimulated—the dark and sensual shadow of Death; but Elisabeth is reluctant to consummate their relationship. When Death takes her infant daughter, the tragedy shakes the young Empress extremely, but she refuses to give in to Death's sway.

After her other two children, including her only son Rudolf, are taken away by Sophie, Elisabeth calluses over and becomes cold and selfish. She flees the Austrian court and spends decades restlessly travelling all over the world, trying in vain to escape from her fear of emptiness. Eventually, Elisabeth makes peace with her husband and finds new meaning in her life when she helps unify Austria and Hungary, but her newfound purpose makes her neglect her psychologically delicate son even further, sending young Rudolf into deep depression and causing him to bond with Death.

Eventually, Rudolf's own loneliness and his father's pressure cause him to snap and he embraces Death, committing suicide at Mayerling with his mistress, Mary Vetsera. This event completely breaks down Elisabeth and she begs Death to take her. However, her scorned lover now refuses to take her in.

Another decade goes by. Elisabeth still wanders from place to place, dressed in permanent mourning. Franz Joseph visits her from time to time, begging her to return home to Vienna, firmly believing that love is the answer to all sorrows, but Elisabeth refuses, citing that sometimes love is simply not enough to cure old wounds.

Finally, in a horrifying vision of the fall of the House of Habsburg, Franz Joseph at last meets his mysterious rival. He watches as Death throws Lucheni a dagger, but crushed by the weight of his imperial crest, he is powerless to save his wife.

On September 10th, 1898, while on her way to board a ship in Geneva, Empress Elisabeth of Austria is mortally wounded, stabbed in the heart with a crudely sharpened file. As she lies dying, Death comes to claim her spirit with a kiss. With their embrace, the show ends.

Principal charactersEdit

  • Elisabeth, the Empress of Austria and later Queen of Hungary. Nickname is Sisi. Her birthplace is the Kingdom of Bavaria in Germany.
  • Death, the personification of the abstract concept of "Death" or the "Grim Reaper". His appearance is modeled on the poet Heinrich Heine who was fascinated by Elisabeth, and the rock singer David Bowie.
  • Luigi Lucheni, an Italian anarchist and Elisabeth's assassin. He plays the role of a plot device in the story.
  • Franz Joseph, the Emperor of Austria and later King of Hungary. Husband of Elisabeth.
  • Archduchess Sophie, Franz Joseph's autocratic mother.
  • Rudolf, Elisabeth and Franz Joseph's son.
  • Max, Prince of the Kingdom of Bavaria in Germany. Elisabeth's father.
  • Ludovika, Princess of the Kingdom of Bavaria in Germany. Elisabeth's mother and Sophie's younger sister.
  • Helene, Elisabeth's elder sister.
  • Countess Esterházy, the Mistress of the Household
  • Count Grünne, Franz Joseph's advisor
  • Cardinal Archbishop Rauscher, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Austria
  • Prince Schwarzenberg, the State Minister
  • Frau Wolf, the mistress of a brothel in Vienna

Story:Act OneEdit

The show opens in the world of the dead with Luigi Lucheni, assassin of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, still on trial 100 years after the assassination. The disembodied voice of the judge demands his motive for the assassination to which Lucheni replies "The motive was love.", stating that Death (Der Tod) and Elisabeth were in love. Lucheni calls on Elisabeth's dead family members, who are still wandering in purgatory without freedom, and they explain their relationship with the Empress. ("Prologue (Prolog)")

The show then moves to the beginning of Elisabeth's life. Elisabeth's father, the Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria (Max), is about to travel and is packing his bag. Under his influence, Elisabeth grew up as a free-spirited young women who enjoyed poetry and horseback riding in a countryside. As a result of this Elisabeth begs her father to let her come along with him, and escape having to see her relatives. ("Like You (Wie du)")

Her mother, Princess Ludovika of Bavaria announced that her eldest daughter, Duchess Helene in Bavaria, would have a formal marriage interview with the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria at the gathering of relatives. The offer of marriage was arranged by Ludovica's elder sister, Princess Sophie of Bavaria, the Archduchess of Austria. ("Lovely to Have You All Here - (Schön, euch alle zu seh'n)")

But Sisi was not interested in the offer of marriage while everyone was all over talking about the offer of marriage. She climbed a tree by herself, and she was practicing acrobatics, then she slipped and fell from a high place and lost consciousness. After that, she woke up and felt that a beautiful and neutral young man had taken her back to her bed. She realized that he was the Grim Reaper (Death), however, she overlapped the image of free-spirited father, who was not bound himself by anything, on the Grim Reaper (Death). And she felt a strong admiration for him. ("Black Prince (Schwarzer Prinz)")

The young Emperor Franz Joseph I sat at his office desk and read the documents at the place for the Emperor to see people in the Hofburg in Vienna about that time. There was the figure of the Archduchess Sophie who was called "The only male in the Royal court" beside him. A mother of a condemned criminal came to petition the Emperor to commute her son, who was sentenced to death just by shouting freedom. In the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1848 which occurred suddenly in 1848, the Revolutions of 1848 in the Austrian Empire also broke out in Vienna. As a result, the Chancellor Klemens von Metternich fell from power, and the Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne. Although the revolution was put down, in order to oppress its impact, Sophie made her son, Franz Joseph I, who was 18 years old then, ascend the throne as the next Emperor, and she suppressed the antimonarchic movement. He showed distressed expression to the heart-wrenching cries of the condemned criminal of the mother, but he was urged by the Archduchess, and he dismissed the petition.

Next, the vassals of the Emperor counseled that Austria should participate in the Crimean War to take the Russian Empire side, which lent a hand to quell the revolution in Austria. Sophie instructed him to take a standpoint of neutrality in the war and set out for the marriage proposal, instancing the House of Habsburg's precepts, "Leave war to other families. Fortunate Austria should expand its sphere of influence by marriage." ("To Each He Gives His Own (Jedem gibt er das Seine) ")

However, contrary to her words, the Austrian Empire, which feared the increased influence of the Russian Empire in Balkans, in actual fact, took sides with the Ottoman Empire, which was the enemy of Russian Empire, in the Crimean War. Because Russian Empire, which aimed for acquiring ice-free ports at that time, opened hostilities the Crimean War against the Ottoman Empire in 1853. As a result, Austria's relationship with Russia, which had maintained a friendly relationship since the establishment of Vienna Settlement, which was the international order of Europe after Congress of Vienna, deteriorated. The fact that the relationship between Austria and Russia had deteriorated meant the complete collapse of the Holy Alliance. Moreover, Austria, which lost the backing of Russia, declined in position within the German Confederation. Let us revert to the original subject. In other words, Sophie told a falsehood to the Emperor Franz Joseph I, and she urged him to attend the marriage proposal at this time.

He and Helene had a formal marriage interview at Bad Ischl in August 1853. The original scheme of Sophie was marriage of convenience. She married her son to Princess Anna of Prussia because Prussia was expanding its sphere of influence in the German Confederation. But this was broken off, as a result, Sophie singled the daughter of her younger sister out for a marriage partner of Sophie's son because her younger sister was a young noblewoman of the friendly country, the Kingdom of Bavaria, and she was easy to be manipulated by Sophie. Meanwhile, the marriage of the daughter of Ludovica and the Emperor was a heaven-sent opportunity to recover honor of Ludovica because she got married into the House of Wittelsbach that had inferior social status, but she was born of Royal Princess of Royal family in the Kingdom of Bavaria nevertheless. But the marriage proposal did not progress as expected by the mothers of both families. Because the Emperor fell in love with Helene's younger sister, Sisi, who happened to accompany by Helene, at first sight, rather than the polite Helene who grew up with being given education as an Empress. The Emperor was fascinated by a beautiful girl behaving so innocently even in front of him, and he decided to marry Sisi against his mother's intention for the first time in his life. ("Things Never Happen As Planned (So wie man plant und denkt...)")

A few days later, he informed Sisi concerning the obligations and fetters which she would assume as the Empress in the future, and he inquired her whether she would support him notwithstanding. She showed the expression of bewilderment to the weight of the necklace sent to her as the testimony of the engagement, however, she replied "If you will stay beside me, I'll be able to overcome any difficulties.", and she accepted the courtship from him. The girl aged fifteen was overwhelmed with fairy-tale love, but she was not ready to confront the reality of married life in the Royal court. ("Nothing is Difficult Any More (Nichts ist schwer) ")

In a short period of time before getting married, she was given education as the Empress such as language, the etiquette of the Royal court, but the results were not very good, so that her mother applied for hoping to postpone the wedding.

Elisabeth and the Emperor Franz Joseph I solemnized a marriage-ceremony at the Augustinian Church, Vienna at 6:30 pm on April 24, 1854. Lucheni jeered that the wedding ceremony, which was celebrated at a rare time in the evening, was also suitable for the beginning of the disaster. The bride and groom, accompanied by Ludovica and Sophie, knelt in front of the Archbishop. The archbishop inquired to Elisabeth, "Is marriage your own volition?", and she responded "Yes, it is." Then her voice echoed many times in the church, and marriage bells were rung out imperceptibly. The sound of bells, ringing eerily in the twilight, was as if it had celebrated becoming complete the final piece for the demise of the Habsburg Monarchy by this marriage. ("All Questions Have Been Asked (Alle Fragen sind gestellt)")

The ball of the Royal court was performed in the Schönbrunn Palace splendidly a few days later. The bride's father and the groom's mother complained about the marriage outside the great hall. Max was worrying that the sternness of the Royal court would make Sisi be left in limbo, and Sophie was irritated with Elisabeth because she lacked the qualities as the Empress. And participants in the ball were also enthusiastic about the bride's rumors individually. There was all manner of the people such as those who praised her beauty, those who derided low social status of hers, those who felt misgivings about insane blood-relationship, those who worried about youth and rudeness. ("She Doesn't Fit (Sie passt nicht)")

The married couple of the Emperor eventually appeared in the hall. Elisabeth, who frayed her nerves to state ceremonies for days on end, gave an expression of relief in the Emperor's arm, and she waltzed him innocently. However, when the music was stopped suddenly, then the persons except her, turned pale as if they had become wax effigies, and the Grim Reaper (Death) appeared again in front of her. He informed her, "You chose him as your marriage partner, but I'm the one who will dance with you at the end! (These sentences included two meanings; one is a person dances with the opposite sex who is the object of one's affections at last at the balls, the other is a person dances Danse Macabre with Grim Reaper just before a person dies, based on medieval European view of life and death.)", then he disappeared. The people around her was staring at her whose manner recovered her senses and wavered, with a curious look, like looking at the exhibit of the freak show. At that moment, she truly realized that she had married into the Royal court, known as the extraordinary world. ("The Last Dance (Der letzte Tanz)")

When the events and ceremonies settled down, the married couple of the Emperor resided in the Laxenburg castles. However, because the Emperor was away from there until late at night owing to attend to his duties, the life which awaited Elisabeth, who was left alone there, was not a happy newlywed life with her husband, but harsh education as the Empress by her mother-in-law. The close schedule was organized from 5 am for Elisabeth, and she was severely disciplined from her manner of walking, to how to make a proper bow, and choice of words. She was also banned from changing clothes alone and taking a bath alone without the help of ladies-in-waiting. She was tormented with intolerable such rigorous discipline because she had grown up in her home environment to manage her own affairs. She had no private time, and she was urged to bear heirs. The apple of her eye was horseback riding, however, it was also prohibited. ("An Empress Must Shine (Eine Kaiserin muss glänzen)")

Because she was unable to endure the constraint and loneliness in the Royal court, she had recourse to her husband, however, he offered his opinion, "To do as my mother said is also good for you.", and he sided with his mother. Elisabeth perceived that she was isolated and unaided in the Royal court, but she spoke with finality, "I'm not the property of anyone, I belong only to me.", and she refused to be tamed by the Royal court at the mercy of her mother-in-law. ("I Belong to Me (Ich Gehör Nur Mir)")

In the first year of marriage, he was often confined to his office because of the escalating the Crimean War, the conversation partner of Elisabeth, who was left alone in the Royal court, was only a parrot which was gifted with her as a birthday gift from him. In the second year of marriage, the long-awaited eldest daughter was born, but Elisabeth was not allowed to care for her child, and the name of the child was decided to be given the same name as the Archduchess, Sophie. Despite Elisabeth was the mother of the baby, Elisabeth was not even allowed to breast-feed, and she was able to have an audience with the baby only in a fraction of the time that the Archduchess permitted. In the third year of marriage, the second daughter was born, but Elisabeth's mother-in-law deprived her of the child again. However, a turning point had come. In the Kingdom of Hungary (1526–1867), which was part of the Austrian Empire at that time, the momentum of independence showed the upsurge. In order to parade supremacy over Hungary by the Emperor Franz Joseph I, he would make the Empress accompany to visit there, and he would attempt to appease the hostility of the people by her beauty, and to calm down the movement of independence. As a condition that she pulled the daughters away from the hands of the Archduchess and accompanied them on a journey, she promised him to cooperate with him. It was the first victory for her in the Royal court. ("The First Four Years (Die Ersten Vier Jahre)")

Because she was rumored to be the person who discorded with the Archduchess, who had led the suppression after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Hungarian people welcomed visit of Elisabeth favorably, together with her beauty. In addition, she felt a repulsion for the mother-in-law, and she liked the liberal atmosphere in Hungary, which was different from the authoritarian Viennese Royal court, and since then she often spoke on the Emperor's behalf concerning policies to mitigate the oppression against Hungary. However, there was another person who was waiting for her while traveling. Immediately after her victory, the eldest daughter Sophie, who exhausted herself by an unfamiliar long journey, died of illness. Elisabeth was agitated by the sudden death of her daughter, and the moment she looked away from the coffin, she noticed that the Grim Reaper (Death) had been nestling in her side, and he had been staring at her throughout. He warned her, "The more you cling to false love, the more you will draw the Emperor and the Empire into the darkness." ("The Shadows Grow Longer (Die Schatten werden länger) (Preview)")

At the end of the 19th century, in Vienna, where people and cultures intersected in the north, south, east, and west of Europe, the overripe of decadent culture called Wiener Moderne arose under the turmoil of the Habsburg Monarchy towards the downfall and gloomy historical background. Even today, at the Viennese coffeehouses, a wide variety of intellectuals gathered, read newspapers, and had too much time on their hands with the topics of the imperial family and politics. The number one topic at there was the birth of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria. He was the long-awaited heir to the throne for the Austrian Empire, but tragically, he was secluded from his mother's hands. The next topic was that Northern Italy, which was part of the Empire at that time, formed an alliance with the Emperor of the French Napoleon III, caused the Second Italian War of Independence against Austria. As for the situation of the Habsburg Monarchy at that time, the Austrian Empire had lost territories one after another, and it had been isolated internationally. The guests of cafés derided the critical situation of the Empire with evident sarcasm, "All we can do is talking nonsense and just waiting for the time of the ruin at the cafés." ("The Cheerful Apocalypse (Die fröhliche Apokalypse) ")

One night in 1865, in front of the locked bedroom of Elisabeth in the Royal court, the Emperor called on her to open the door of his wife's bedroom. The Austrian Empire was caught in a dilemma because it had been defeated in the Second Italian War of Independence, and the Empire had lost the territory of Northern Italy. With this as a turning point, the momentum of independence rekindled in various regions of the Empire. Prussia, which was led by the Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who advocated Lesser Germany, watched vigilantly for promoting preparation for the outbreak of the war against Austria towards the Unification of Germany. As a result of repeated wars, the national finance of the Empire was on the verge of bankruptcy. All that heavy pressure weighed heavily on the Emperor's shoulders. He begged her to pass a night soothingly beside her, even for one night alone. On the other hand, she appealed to him that Rudolf had been abused by the vassals of the Emperor, and she conveyed the ultimatum with tragic but brave resolution with saying, "I want you to trust me with rearing our son, otherwise I'll leave the Royal court!". But she despaired of her husband's attitude not of breaking his loyalty to his mother to the utmost. Then the Grim Reaper (Death) whispered to her, "All mental conflicts will be over, I'll save you from anguish." But she rejected his temptation with saying, "I'll make into even my beauty as a weapon for the sake of obtaining freedom in the Royal court." ("Elisabeth, Open Up My Angel (Elisabeth, mach auf mein Engel)")

The citizens, who were seeking for rationing of milk, gathered in the central square of Vienna. They pressed with saying, "Why isn't there milk anywhere?" Lucheni instigated them with saying, "Because the Empress is snatching milk out of your possession, and she is using it as a bath with milk." Because of the heavy tax to cover the war expenditure, the civilian life was in extreme distress, and the centripetal force of the imperial family deteriorated significantly. The citizens shouted in unison, "The children are dead!", "Let the Empress know our potential!" In Vienna, the trigger, which set off the revolution, began to smolder again. ("Milk (Milch)")

On the other hand, the ladies-in-waiting were carrying a large amount of milk to be used for bathing of the Empress to the bathroom in the Royal court. She practiced not only a bath with milk, but also such as a bath with olive oil, a facial pack by strawberry or raw meat, the juice made from gravy of calf, all other cosmetic techniques that were believed to have cosmetic effects. Her long, beautiful hair was applied a treatment by the specially made shampoos that were compounded eggs and cognac once every three weeks during the entire day. She seldom had meals, and even spent most of her day practicing gymnastics and other exercises in order to maintain her preeminent style, body height 172cm, waist 50cm, and weight less than 50kg. It can also be said that cosmetic techniques and diets of hers were excess. In exchange for them, her beauty became famous and well-known throughout Europe, as a result, she came into the existence to have great influence to the extent which the Royal court was not able to ignore. ("Beauty Care (Schönheitspflege) ")

After a while, the Emperor appeared in front of the bedroom of the Empress. He ordered the lades-in-waiters, who were startled at his sudden visit, to leave there, and he addressed himself to his wife over the partitioning screen. He informed her, "The sovereign prince must restrain my emotion, but I would be able to willingly break even the sole rule than lose you.", and he admitted that her beauty defeated him. As a result, he decided to select his wife rather than his mother, and to accept all requests of Elisabeth. After listening to the words of her husband, she appeared in front of him with saying, "I'll live together with you forever and ever. But I belong only to me.", and she declared her victory proudly. Her figure was the very spit and image of her portrait depicted by the proverbial Franz Xaver Winterhalter. She has been extolled as the goddess of beauty. ("I Just Want to Tell You (Ich will dir nur sagen) (I Belong to Me Reprise)")

Story:Act TwoEdit

The front of St. Stephen's Basilica was flooded with people to celebrate the coronation of Franz Joseph I as the King of Hungary. The Hungarian people cheered to Elisabeth with saying, "Éljen, Elisabeth!" because she supported the establishment of the Austro-Hungarian empire, which granted large-scale autonomy to Hungary. ("Éljen (which is Hungarian for "long live"...) (Éljen)")

Meanwhile, Lucheni opened his trunk in front of the crowd and started an exhibition and spot sale of souvenirs. He picked up a glass drawn the harmonious figures of the King and Queen and a portrait painted the Queen and her son side by side, and "These are Kitsch!", he spat out at the crowd. He also spat out at the crowd, "the Dual monarchy is farce. All figures of Elisabeth, which have been favorably depicted in books or movies for 100 years after her death, are impostors or idols, in fact, she is truly an arrogant egoist." ("Kitsch (Kitsch)")

She made a large majority in the Viennese Royal court including Sophie who opposed her, to surrender, and she was at the zenith of her life because she attained her desires. Her facial expression was instinct with confidence and dignity, and she said, "I dance of my own will, no one can manipulate me anymore." She also swore to separate not only her husband and the Royal court, but also the Grim Reaper (Death). But he saw through everything. He said to her, "This satisfied moment will promptly turn into a hatred of life, because you love me.", then he smirked audaciously and moved off there. ("When I Want to Dance (Wenn ich tanzen will)")

Rudolf aged nine got a high fever at his bedroom in the Hofburg. In the pitch-black room, the Crown Prince who was trembling with chill owing to a high fever alone, murmured that he wanted his mother to be around him. Because she regained custody of her son, she removed the vassals of the Emperor, who had been imposing the training of military style on Rudolf, from their positions, and she appointed liberal educators, who emphasized spiritual education rather than physical training, by herself. Rudolf, who had a weak constitution, never forgot lifelong gratitude to his mother for giving him a free environment and releasing him from suffering. But, on the contrary, because she was satisfied to win her mother-in-law, she gradually began to keep the Royal court and her son at a distance. She left the formal Vienna, and she came into spending a lot of time in Royal Palace of Gödöllő in Hungary. It was the place where the Emperor and she stayed their first trip to Hungary in 1857. At that time, it is said that she took a fancy to the palace with rich nature because the atmosphere of the palace was similar to Possenhofen Castle where she was born. While many of the castles of the Habsburg Monarchy era in Hungary have been converted into galleries and history museums, it is the only castle that retains a remnant of the Monarchy era. Rudolf longed for his mother, but she refused to answer the feelings of her son. Rudolf, who grew up without knowing the love of his mother, like erstwhile Sisi, overlapped the image of his mother on the Grim Reaper (Death), and began to yearn for him as his friend. ("Mama, Where Are You? (Mama, wo bist du?)")

The teachers of Rudolf were appointed from the intellectuals of competent citizens without being a slave to the custom which the clergy and the nobility were elected as the educators of the Crown Prince. As a result, Rudolf would come into be captivated by liberal ideas and democratic ideology that were incompatible with the monarchy, i.e., the Emperor assumed the reins of government and all power, and he would come into conflict with his father and the Viennese Royal court, like his mother.

Although Elisabeth escaped from duties in the Royal court, she was proactive in social service activities such as consolation to the orphanages or the poorhouses. Caring for the poor and the sick had been the tradition of the House of Wittelsbach since her childhood. Concerning mattes in which she was interested, she got in contact with the other parties without prejudice and without regard to their status and their identity. In particular, she haunted the psychiatric hospitals throughout her life. This fact was also related to the fact that many of her relatives suffered from psychosis. And when she consoled a psychiatric hospital in the suburbs of Vienna, she met a female patient. She shouted that she was the noble Empress and Elisabeth was the very psychotic. The female patient was subdued by a physical restraint immediately. ("She Is Insane (Sie ist verrückt)")

Because Elisabeth was shackled by convention as the Empress, she reflected on herself. And she was fascinated by the female patient, who had an innocent soul, even though she was restrained physically but she was not bound herself by anything. Elisabeth thought that if she had been able to live nobly and as her pleases, how wonderful her life would have been, even though no matter how she was seen with the strange eyes from those around her, and no matter how she was said to be crazy from those around her, like the fairy Titania, who was the character in the play of William Shakespeare; "A Midsummer Night's Dream" which she worshiped. And she realized that even if she had won the battles against the Viennese Royal court and her mother-in-law, she had not obtained what she desired in the end. She thought that as if she had stood transfixed with fear and she had been trembling with dread in the dark on the rope of acrobatics which had been a symbol of freedom. She wondered to herself, even though she preferably desired to throw herself into the boundless expanse of abyss at her feet in her inmost heart, she had no choice but to continue leading a life of a sham as if she had been frightened by the nothingness' anxiety to wait for the darkness in the future. ("Nothing, Nothing, Nothing at All (Nichts, nichts, gar nichts)")

Sophie and her near relatives were discussing the measures to pull the Emperor away from the Empress at a salon in the Hofburg. The Emperor appointed Gyula Andrássy, one of the ringleaders of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, as the first Prime minister of the Kingdom of Hungary (1526–1867) in Austro-Hungarian empire. He had a close relationship with Elisabeth and became the Foreign minister of the Empire later. Sophie and her near relatives feared that if they would admit the intervention in politics by the Empress any further, the Empire would collapse. Accordingly, they prepared a mistress for the Emperor as an emergency measure. ("Us or Her (Wir oder sie)")

However, she had a venereal disease because she was brought from the brothel to the Royal Court. ("Don't Play the Prude (Nur kein Genieren)")

Elisabeth fell flat on the floor of the gymnastic hall while she was exercising. The doctor notified her that the cause of her tumble was the "French Disease", i.e., "Syphilis" rather than an excessive diet.

The name "syphilis" was coined by the Italian physician and poet Girolamo Fracastoro in his pastoral noted poem, written in Latin, titled "Syphilis sive morbus gallicus" (Latin for "Syphilis or The French Disease") in 1530.[1][2] Until that time, as Fracastoro notes, syphilis had been called the "French Disease" (Italian: mal francese) in Italy, Malta,[3] Poland and Germany, and the "Italian Disease" in France. In addition, the Dutch called it the "Spanish Disease", the Russians called it the "Poles Disease", and the Turkish people called it the "Christians Disease" or "Frank (Western European) Disease" (frengi). These "national" names were generally reflective of contemporary political spite between nations and frequently served as a sort of propaganda; the Protestantism Dutch, for example, fought and eventually won a war of independence against their Habsburg Spain rulers who were Roman Catholic (term), so referring to Syphilis as the "Spanish" disease reinforced a politically useful perception that the Spanish were immoral or unworthy.

Let us revert to the original subject. Elisabeth was in a distraught frame of mind because she had been completely believing in loyalties of her husband, and she blundered out committing suicide. Then, the Grim Reaper (Death), who was waiting for these words, appeared in front of her, and he urged her to make the final decision.However, she removed the testimony of the engagement with the Emperor from her neck, and she interpreted this betrayal by her husband as rather salvation that he gave her in order to sever the trammels of the Royal court. After thereafter, she left Vienna and she led to continue knocking around from place to place. ("The Last Chance (Or 'The Malady') (Die letzte Chance (Maladie))")

In the Hofburg, Franz Joseph I was protesting his mother Sophie against the stratagem to separate Elisabeth from him. His mother emphasized that all she had done was for promoting the national interest of the Empire, however, he left word that he would hinder from interfering in the relation between husband and wife by his mother never again, then left there. The Revolutions of 1848 had developed into the situation that had led to the abdication of the Emperor of Austria. Thus, the Habsburg Empire had fallen into crisis. At that time, Sophie ruthlessly had forced the incompetent husband of hers; Archduke Franz Karl of Austria to renounce the right to succeed to the Imperial Throne, and she had compelled her son; Franz Joseph I to succeed to the Imperial Throne. She had given her son all the indispensable education as the Emperor, and she had brought up him rigorously to be a diligent and impeccable person. The reason why she had trained Elisabeth strictly, because Sophie had been wholly concerned and worried about the future of the Empire. She uttered last words, "Those who have forgotten their obligations are destined to perish." It was thus that she breathed her last. ("Bellaria (Bellaria) ")

On the other hand, Elisabeth pleaded a medical treatment, and she continued to roam aimlessly to the Madeira, Corfu, Hungary, and the United Kingdom, while she renounced official duties of hers without staying glued to one spot. She continued to walk at a trot from mountains to seas, while carrying an umbrella and a folding fan, and her followers followed after her with utterly exhausted expression. Meanwhile, the Emperor wrote letters to his wife, who would not return to Vienna, on a daily basis because he was anxious about the physical condition of hers. And a decade elapsed. The hairdresser attached to the Empress combed her hair and then showed Elisabeth a brand-new comb. It was the hairdresser's daily routine to hide adherent hairs left on the comb and reassure Elisabeth. However, Lucheni extracted one hair left on the comb by stealth, it was a gray hair. She continued to journey farther. She devoted herself to compose poetry like Heinrich Heine, immersed herself in horseback riding, and made a commitment to Ancient Greece. Her extensive knowledge of Heine was far superior to the experts, and equestrian skill of hers was evaluated to be prominent capability in Europe. As a result, she continued running in search of something for 17 years. Lucheni extended a mirror to her. The shadow of old age was definitely creeping up on her, but she had been reputed as the person of rare personal beauty nevertheless. ("The Restless Years (Die rastlosen Jahre) ")

She arrived at Corfu in Greece at the end of her journey. She built a villa named after ancient Greek hero Achilles who she worshiped, there, and kept indoors to cut off all contacts with the outside world. She decorated the statues of the philosophers and poet Heinrich Heine who she worshiped, in the villa, and she devoted herself to compose poetry. She loved his poetry which was passionate and full of natural feeling, and she sympathized with his ideas which were cynical and critical to social. He could not accommodate himself to circumstances in Germany throughout his life as a Germany-born Jews (Strictly speaking, this word is not a plural form "Jews", but a singular form "Jew", however, a singular form "Jew" is not published on Wikipedia.) , and she felt a strong affinity with his upbringing, i.e., he was later chased away from Germany and spent his last years in France. She looked up to him as her preceptor, and she believed that she had contact with his soul. One day, when she tried to call his soul, the nostalgic voice of the owner addressed her. The voice of the owner was concerned for her welfare because she averted her gaze from this world and only faced the souls of the dead. However, she only lamented that she felt there was no place where she belonged in this world in this era. Then, the words, "Adieu, Sisi. ("Adieu" means eternal farewell in French language.)" remained behind. Subsequently, the voice vanished. Around the same time, her father, Max, who was very understanding of her, and who she yearned after, passed away. The free soul, who lost her destination, did not stay in Corfu for a long time and began to wander again in search of the safeliving land. ("Like You (Wie du (Reprise)) ")

While Elisabeth continued her journey, Rudolf grew into a young man. On the other hand, nationalism and fascism began to gain power in Europe, and even in the Austrian Empire, which was a multiracial nation composed of various races within the territory of the Empire, the movement to seek autonomy and rights of each ethnic group was intensifying. Particularly, in the multi-ethnic city of Vienna, those who advocated Pan-Germanism, commencing with Georg Ritter von Schönerer, became conspicuous. Pan-Germanism was a political ideology which preached the ethnic superiority of Germans and defending the rights of them. Jews, who were ethnic minorities but economically blessed, were expedient targets for those who espoused Pan-Germanism. Pan-Germanism opposed both emergence of the peoples of Slavic extraction and extending Jews' influence, advocated the superiority of the German peoples, and preached the dissolution of the Hapsburg Monarchy and the union with German. Pan-Germanism is also known to have influenced adolescent Adolf Hitler. Rudolf had a sense of impending crisis that if his father continued to govern the Empire by suppressing the rights of citizens and oppressing the movements of nationalism in the territory, it would be possible to keep up appearances of the Empire temporarily, however, his method to govern would result in hastening the collapse of the Empire because his method to govern was anachronistic and authoritarian. The ideal of Rudolf was each race in Central Europe would have equal rights and promoting co-existence and co-prosperity as the United States of Greater Austria. However, an article criticizing the regime that he anonymously posted in the newspaper was disclosed. As a consequence of this incident, he confronted his father decisively, and he was also denounced as a traitor by nationalists. Because his marriage life with Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, also turned completely cold, he was isolated both political action and the life in the Royal court. Consequently, he was gradually suffering from mental disorder.

On an occasion, his mother came back to Vienna. He gave vent to his feelings, and he sought help her to hope to put in a good word on behalf of him with his father. However, because she had severed all relations with the Royal court, she rejected the entreaty of her son stubbornly. Because Rudolf despaired of her behavior, he accepted the kiss of the Grim Reaper (Death) at Mayerling on the outskirts of Vienna in January 1889 and committed double suicide with a pistol. This is so-called the "Mayerling incident". His death is veiled in mystery even now. On hearing that Elisabeth's only son had committed double suicide, she went into a state of shock. As soon as she saw the figure of his death, she realized that he was the living image of herself. Because she merely sought her own freedom, she regretted abandoning her son, who sought his own freedom likewise, to his fate, and she broke down in tears in front of the coffin. Her sorrow was so deep that she begged for mercy even to the abominable opponent, who put an end to his life. But the Grim Reaper (Death) did not attempt to respond to her lamentation.

She was shocked by the death of her son tremendously. She handed over all her personal belongings such as the gorgeous dresses, jewelry, and she spent the rest of her life while she was merely in mourning black. Her father had already passed away, and the next year of the incident, those who close to her; her elder sister Helene and her mother Ludovika slept their last sleep one after another. She remained behind. Her unreasonable diet caused her the tortures by neuralgia and being prone to illness. She was always hiding the noticeable wrinkles of her face with un umbrella and a fan, and nevertheless she continued the lonely journey. The newspapers sympathetically gave the write up of poor physical condition of hers extensive coverage wrote as the pathetic Empress, who was haunted by madness.

However, Lucheni could not admit the newspaper articles. He took the picture, which was reflected the figure of the Empress, who crouched down in front of the mortal remains of her son, in Lucheni's hand, and he appealed to the multitude that this was also a Kitsch to draw popular sympathy. He lived a miserable life. An orphanage accommodated him as a foundling, and he was sent from pillar to post, from an orphanage to another orphanage and from a foster parent to another foster parent. He could not get a regular job, and he wandered from a country to another country, then he arrived at Switzerland where he encountered anarchism, and he was wholly devoted to it. The royal families and the aristocracy, who enjoyed natural privileges of theirs, had to be more hateful existence than anyone else for him. ("My New Assortment (Mein neues Sortiment) (Kitsch reprise)")

Franz Joseph I visited Elisabeth during her stay on the journey, and they reunited on the night of the great full moon at the terrace of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in February 1895. His hair, and long mustaches and whiskers, were already dyed white as if to symbolize the miseries of the life of the Emperor. However, she likened themselves to two ships which had different cargoes and destinations, and she informed him that even if they happened to pass each other by sea, they would never be completely compatible with each other continuously. And she left there. The married couple, who should have been in love with each other and been united in marriage at Bad Ischl, through the passage of forty years, they unfortunately reunited to reaffirm each other's loneliness and the limits of love. ("Ships in the Night (Boote in der Nacht)")

There are few photographs or paintings that leave the form of Elisabeth's last days. She made her appearance publicly at last during her attendance at the ceremony in 1896, which celebrated one thousand years since Hungary had been founded. The newspapers reported that the figure of the Empress, who was just sitting beside the Emperor without expression, was far from the actuality or nestled closely by the shadow of death. Owing to the deterioration of physical condition of hers, her accommodation was limited to tourist spots such as Switzerland which was easy to move for her. It was said that she never stopped dieting even around this time. In a disturbing era when anarchism was rampant, the police repeatedly offered the escort to her, but she rejected it. The Habsburg Empire lost the vast expanse of territory in the war, and the nationalist movement, which sought independence, was also intensifying in the remaining regions. And the younger brother of the Emperor Franz Joseph I; the Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico was shot dead in the revolution, and the cousin of the Empress; Ludwig II of Bavaria drowned in the lake caused by having a mental disorder. Unfortunate incidents also continued around the Emperor and the Empress. The 600 years of glory of the Habsburg Monarchy was already a thing of the past, and the time of its ruin was approaching every moment. And one night, the Emperor Franz Joseph I dreamed a terrifying dream, and he confronted the Grim Reaper (Death) in his dream. The Grim Reaper (Death) took firm hold of his hand a rasp as a deadly weapon for the sake of the assassination of Elisabeth. On the deck of a huge ship, which imitated the sinking the Monarchy, on the brink of foundering, she neglected ruined inhabitants, who run about trying to escape, and she was just standing stock-still with a vacant expression as if she had waited for something. The Emperor attempted to rescue his wife, but he could not stir himself because he was hampered by ghosts. Finally, the Grim Reaper (Death) handed Lucheni the rasp. At that moment, together with the screams of the pandemonium, the Emperor and ghosts were swallowed up in the light one after another. The voice of judge's examination echoed again, and Lucheni gave the final testimony of his. ("On the Deck of the Sinking World (Am Deck der sinkenden Welt)")

When the whistle of the ship blared, Elisabeth and the waiting maid of hers, the Countess of Starley appeared along the banks of Lake Geneva on September 10, 1898. They were heading to the boarding point of the steamships. Suddenly, a man pierced the chest of the Empress with the rasp when they were passing each other. The man was immediately held down on the spot. She regained her footing immediately, and she went toward the pier while she was boring the persons around her, but she fell down on the ground again and lost consciousness. In the darkness, when she woke up to the light of the sun, there was the figure of the Grim Reaper (Death) there, the same as when she was a young girl. She shed her mourning dress which she wore, and she swore the disappearance of all memories of hers in the past and the regeneration of her soul, that when and where she could not comprehend wandering, and seeking for the safeliving land. Then she kissed the Grim Reaper (Death) deeply. After 18 years of the assassination of Elisabeth, the Emperor Franz Joseph I also passed away. After two years of his demise, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, and each nation in the Empire achieved independence, the advent of a new age was realized in Central Europe. ("The Veil Descends (Der Schleier fällt)")

The poem, which was regarded as coming into the conception to "death", written by Elisabeth.Edit

...Each time I set out on a journey, a flock of seagulls followed the ship.

Among them, there was always one dark-colored almost close to black-colored seagull.

The black seagull sometimes accompanied me all the way while I was moving from a continent to another continent.

I think the bird was my destiny....

The comment of Winston Churchill relevant to the Habsburg Monarchy.Edit

If the Habsburg Monarchy had not been ruined, Central European countries would not have experienced history, which had been such long and full of troubles.[4]

The letter sent by Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord to Napoleon, who occupied Vienna in the early 19th century.Edit

You are free to disrupt the Habsburg Monarchy, but this is a model nation that governs multi-ethnic groups, and if once you disrupted, it would never be restored. Only the confusion would remain afterwards.

Please don't forget that.[5]

The comment of German historian Golo Mann relevant to the Habsburg Monarchy.Edit

I sincerely think that I wish Austria-Hungary had not collapsed. That was the best solution for a multi-ethnic nation to work well.[6]

Production historyEdit

The world premiere of Elisabeth, directed by Harry Kupfer, took place on September 3, 1992 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria, where it ran until January 1997. After a brief hiatus, it reopened on September 4, 1997. The final closing date was on April 25, 1998. In October 2002, a 10th Anniversary miniseries of concerts took place at the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna. The Vienna production was revived on October 1, 2003 and ran until December 4, 2005.a
Other productions have been mounted in the following countries. Current or upcoming productions are in bold:

  • Japan: The Takarazuka Grand Theatre (The Takarazuka Revue), Hyōgod
    • February 16, 1996 - current
  • Japan: The Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre (The Takarazuka Revue), Tokyod
    • June 3, 1996 - current
  • Hungary: The Open-Air Theatre of Szeged, Szeged
    • August 17, 1996 - September/October 1996
  • Hungary: The Operetta Theatre (Budapesti Operett Színház), Budapestc
    • October 5, 1996 - January 2005
    • July 2007 -
  • Hungary: The National Theatre of Miskolc
    • Autumn 1999 - April 2001
  • Sweden: Musiktheatern i Värmland, Karlstad
    • September 30, 1999 - January 9, 2000
  • Netherlands: Fortis Circus Theatre (Stage Entertainment), Scheveningen
    • November 21, 1999 - July 22, 2001
  • Japan: The Toho Company 1st version [7]
  • Germany: Colosseum Theater (Stage Entertainment), Essen
    • March 22, 2001 - June 29, 2003
  • Japan: The Toho Company 2nd version
    • March 6 - May 30, 2004 – Imperial Theater, Tokyo
    • August 1–30, 2004 – Chunichi Theater, Nagoya
    • October 2–28, 2004 – Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka
    • November 3 - December 12, 2004 – Umeda Arts Theater, Osaka
    • September 1–30, 2005 – Imperial Theater, Tokyo
    • May 3–28, 2006 – Nissay Theater, Tokyo
    • August 3–28, 2008 – Chunichi Theater, Nagoya
    • September 3–28, 2008 – Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka
    • November 3 - December 25, 2008 – Nissay Theater, Tokyo
    • January 8 - February 2, 2009 – Umeda Arts Theater, Osaka
    • August 9 - October 30, 2010 – Imperial Theater, Tokyo. Toho "Elisabeth" 10th anniversary production
    • May 9 - June 27, 2012 – Imperial Theater, Tokyo
    • July 5–26, 2012 – Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka
    • August 3–26, 2012 – Chunichi Theater, Nagoya
    • September 1–28, 2012 – Umeda Arts Theater, Osaka[8]
  • Germany: Apollo Theater (Stage Holding/Stage Entertainment), Stuttgart
    • March 6, 2005 - September 17, 2006
  • Germany: Theater des Westens (Semmel Concerts/Premium Entertainment), Berlin
    • April 20 - September 27, 2008
    • October 2008 - April 2010 (toured throughout Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria. See tour dates below.e)
  • Italy: Miramare Castle, Trieste. Open-Air Concert Version.b
    • July 21–27, 2004; July 31 - August 6, 2005
  • Finland: Turun Kaupunginteatteri (The Municipal Theatre of Turku), Turku
    • September 23, 2005 - December 30, 2006
  • Switzerland: Thunersee, Thun. Open-Air Theatre.
    • July 19 - August 30, 2006
  • Japan: Umeda Arts Theater, Osaka. Original Vienna Production.
    • March 28 - April 30, 2007
  • South Korea: Samsung Electronics Hall, Seoul
    • February 9 - May 13, 2012
  • Austria: Raimund Theater, Vienna. Elisabeth: 20th Anniversary Revival
    • September 5, 2012 - February 1, 2014
  • Japan: Elisabeth in Concert: 20th Anniversary[9]
    • October 15–22, 2012 – Umeda Arts Theater, Osaka
    • October 26–31, 2012 – Tokyu Orb Theater, Tokyo
  • South Korea:
    • July 26 - September 7, 2013 – Seoul Art Center Opera House, Seoul
    • September 14–15, 2013 – Busan Cultural Center, Busan
    • October 19–20, 2013 – Seongsan Art Hall, Changwon
  • China: Shanghai Cultural Square, Shanghai
    • December 9, 2014 - January 11, 2015
  • Japan: The Toho Company 3rd version[10]
    • June 13 - August 26, 2015 – Imperial Theater, Tokyo
    • June 28 - July 26, 2016 – Imperial Theater, Tokyo
    • August 6 - September 4, 2016 – Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka
    • September 11–30, 2016 – Umeda Arts Theater, Osaka[11]
    • October 8–23, 2016 – Chunichi Theater, Nagoya
    • June 7 - August 26, 2019 – Imperial Theater, Tokyo
    • April 9 - May 4, 2020 - Imperial Theater, Tokyo (cancelled due to COVID-19)
    • May 11 - June 2, 2020 - Umeda Arts Theater, Osaka (cancelled due to COVID-19)
    • June 10–28, 2020 - Misonoza Theater, Nagoya (cancelled due to COVID-19)
    • July 6 - August 3, 2020 - Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka (cancelled due to COVID-19)
  • South Korea: Samsung Electronics Hall, Seoul
    • June 13 - September 6, 2015
  • European Tour: Germany & Austria
    • February 26 - March 22, 2015 – Essen, Germany; Colosseum Theater
    • March 26 - June 7, 2015 – Munich, Germany
    • July 7 - August 9, 2015 – Linz, Austria
    • December 16, 2015 - January 3, 2016 – Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    • January 7 - February 14, 2016 – Berlin, Germany
  • Netherlands: Elisabeth in Concert
  • South Korea: Blue Square (theater), Seoul
    • November 17, 2018 - February 10, 2019
  • Austria: Open-air concert at Schönbrunn Palace[12]
    • June 25–26, 2019
    • June 25–27, 2020 (cancelled due to COVID-19)
    • July 1–3, 2021

Song listEdit

Additional songs have been added for some productions of Elisabeth that are not featured in all productions. Also the order of songs is often switched, which is the most noticeable between the German and the Viennese versions. This song list and order, with titles in English, is based upon the original Vienna production except where noted.

Act One:

  • Prologue (Prolog) - Judge, Lucheni, Death
  • Like You (Wie du) - Elisabeth, Max
  • Lovely to Have You All Here - (Schön, euch alle zu seh'n) Ludovika, Hélène, Family
  • No Coming Without Going (Kein Kommen ohne Geh'n) - Death (Hungarian, Japanese, 2012 Vienna productions only (sung by Death and Elisabeth in 2012 Vienna production))
  • Black Prince (Schwarzer Prinz) - Elisabeth (originally a direct reprise of Like You, rewritten for the Dutch premiere and subsequent productions, cut in 2012 Vienna production)
  • To Each He Gives His Own (Jedem gibt er das Seine) - Sophie, Franz-Joseph, the Court
  • Things Never Happen As Planned (So wie man plant und denkt...) - Lucheni, Sophie, Hélène, Elisabeth, Franz-Joseph
  • Nothing is Difficult Any More (Nichts ist schwer) - Franz-Joseph, Elisabeth
  • All Questions Have Been Asked (Alle Fragen sind gestellt) - Wedding Chorus (and Death in Japanese productions)
  • She Doesn't Fit (Sie passt nicht) - Sophie, Max, Wedding Guests
  • The Last Dance (Der letzte Tanz) - Death
  • An Empress Must Shine (Eine Kaiserin muss glänzen) - Sophie, Countess Esterházy, Ladies-in-Waiting
  • I Belong to Me (Ich Gehör Nur Mir) - Elisabeth
  • The First Four Years (Die Ersten Vier Jahre) - Lucheni, Elisabeth, Sophie, Ladies-in-Waiting, Franz-Joseph, The Court, Hungarians (finale completely rewritten for the Takarazuka production and partially for the Hungarian version.)
  • The Shadows Grow Longer (Die Schatten werden länger) (Preview) - Death
  • The Cheerful Apocalypse (Die fröhliche Apokalypse) - Lucheni, a Student, a Journalist, a Poet, a Bohemian, a Professor, coffeehouse patrons
  • Child or Not (Kind oder nicht) - Sophie, Countess Esterházy, Young Rudolf (appears from the German premiere and subsequent productions, except the Takarazuka production)
  • Elisabeth, Open Up My Angel (Elisabeth, mach auf mein Engel) - Franz-Joseph, Elisabeth, Death
  • Milk (Milch) - Lucheni, the Poor (and Death in the Takarazuka production)
  • Beauty Care (Schönheitspflege) - Countess Esterházy, Ladies-in-Waiting
  • I Just Want to Tell You (Ich will dir nur sagen) (I Belong to Me Reprise) - Franz-Joseph, Elisabeth, Death (originally only Franz-Joseph and Elisabeth in the original Vienna and Hungarian productions)

Act Two:

  • Kitsch (Kitsch) - Lucheni
  • Éljen (which is Hungarian for "long live...") (Éljen) - Hungarian Crowds, Lucheni (andDeath in Japanese productions)
  • When I Want to Dance (Wenn ich tanzen will) - Death, Elisabeth (written for the German premiere and appears in subsequent productions, sans the Hungarian staging and omitted in Stage Entertainment productions)
  • Mama, Where Are You? (Mama, wo bist du?) - Young Rudolf, Death
  • Mama, Where Are You? (reprise) (Mama, wo bist du reprise) - Young Rudolf, Death (Original Dutch production only; the scene was inserted into the gap made by moving the earlier song into act one)
  • She Is Insane (Sie ist verrückt) - Elisabeth, Miss Windisch
  • Nothing, Nothing, Nothing at All (Nichts, nichts, gar nichts) - Elisabeth (originally a dance-sequence with Elisabeth as Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream, missing the second half of the song in the Takarazuka production)
  • I Belong To Me (Ich Gehör Nur Mir reprise) - Elisabeth (Takarazuka productions only)
  • Us or Her (Wir oder sie) - Sophie, The Court
  • Don't Play the Prude (Nur kein Genieren) - Madame Wolf, Lucheni, Whores
  • The Last Chance (Or 'The Malady') (Die letzte Chance (Maladie)) - Death, Elisabeth
  • Between Dream and Reality (Zwischen Traum und Wirklichkeit) - Elisabeth (Toho 2000-2001 Japanese productions only, also recorded for the Stuttgart production cast recording, though not utilised in the actual show)
  • Argument between Mother and Son - Franz Josef & Sophie (Streit Mutter und Sohn) (proceeds Sophie's solo "Bellaira")
  • Bellaria (Bellaria) - Sophie (Primarily appeared in Hungarian and Japanese productions starting in 1996; Has been present in all productions since then, except for the Takarazuka production)
  • The Restless Years (Die rastlosen Jahre) - Franz-Joseph, The Court, Ladies-in-Waiting
  • Hunt (Jagd) - A sequence referencing Elisabeth's hunting trips in Europe in the original Viennese production (deleted in all but the Hungarian production)
  • The Shadows Grow Longer (Die Schatten werden länger (Reprise)) - Death, Rudolf
  • Argument Between Father and Son (Streit Vater & Sohn) - Rudolf, Franz Joseph (first seen in the Dutch and Essen productions, then inserted into the Viennese revival and subsequent German productions)
  • Hate (Hass) - Anti-Semites & Lucheni (cut from the Takarazuka productions due to controversial content)
  • Conspiracy (Verschwörung) - Rudolf, Hungarian Nationalists, Death(does not appear in the Vienna production; expanded for the Takarazuka version)
  • Like You (Wie du (Reprise)) - Elisabeth, Max's Ghost (does not appear in the Takarazuka production)
  • If I Were Your Mirror (Wenn ich dein Spiegel wär) - Rudolf, Elisabeth
  • The Mayerling Waltz (Mayerling-Walzer) - Rudolf, Death, Mary Vetsera (orchestrations expanded in the Takarazuka production since the Star Troupe 1996 performance and used for current productions)
  • Rudolf, Where Are You? (Dirge) (Rudolf, wo bist du? (Totenklage)) - Elisabeth (a duet with Sophie's Ghost in the Dutch and Hungarian productions)
  • No Coming Without Going (Kein Kommen ohne Geh'n Reprise) - Death (Takarazuka productions only)
  • My New Assortment (Mein neues Sortiment) (Kitsch reprise) - Lucheni
  • Ships in the Night (Boote in der Nacht) - Elisabeth, Franz-Joseph
  • On the Deck of the Sinking World (Am Deck der sinkenden Welt) - Lucheni, Death, Franz-Joseph, the Habsburgs (Missing first half of the song in the Takarazuka stagings)
  • The Veil Descends (Der Schleier fällt) - Elisabeth, Death
  • Closing Music (Schlussapplaus) - Instrumental (Length and assortment of themes vary from production to production)

CD and DVD releasesEdit

Elisabeth has been known to inspire a collector's mania that does not limit itself solely to audio and visual memorabilia. However, as of November 2007, there have been a total of at least twenty-five cast albums, complete works, demos, and promotional albums/singles, as well as eight commercial DVDs of the show, released to the public. These releases do not include countless other artists' solo albums and special compilations that also feature songs from the musical. Listed here are a few from the more mainstream, or better-known, productions.

VIENNA 1992 Elisabeth — original cast recording (Originalaufnahmen aus dem Musical Elisabeth)
Elisabeth: Pia Douwes, Der Tod: Uwe Kröger, Luigi Lucheni: Ethan Freeman
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
Polydor GMBH - 513 792-2

VIENNA 1996 Elisabeth — complete live recording (Live aus dem Theater an der Wien Gesamtaufnahme des Musicals Elisabeth)
Elisabeth: Maya Hakvoort, Der Tod: Addo Kruizinga, Luigi Lucheni: Bruno Grassini
Polydor GMBH - 531 481-2

  • On 19 and 20 January 1996, a complete live recording was made of the original Vienna run.

SCHEVENINGEN 1999 Elisabeth — original Dutch cast album
Elisabeth: Pia Douwes, De Dood: Stanley Burleson, Luigi Luicheni: Wim van den Driessche
Polydor - 543 335-2

ESSEN 2001 Elisabeth — original German cast album (Highlights der deutschen Urauffürung im Colosseum Theater Essen)
Elisabeth: Pia Douwes, Der Tod: Uwe Kröger, Luigi Lucheni: Carsten Lepper
Polydor GMBH - 549 800-2

VIENNA 2004 Elisabeth — Revival cast recording (Aktuelles Cast Album, Wien)
Elisabeth: Maya Hakvoort, Der Tod: Máté Kamarás, Luigi Luicheni: Serkan Kaya
HitSquad Records 6680530

VIENNA 2005 Elisabeth — complete live recording (Gesamtaufnahme live aus dem Theater an der Wien)
Elisabeth: Maya Hakvoort, Der Tod: Máté Kamarás, Luigi Luicheni: Serkan Kaya, Kaiser Franz Joseph: André Bauer, Erzherzogin Sophie: Else Ludwig, Erzherzog Rudolf: Fritz Schmid
HitSquad Records 668262

  • On 30 and 31 October 2005, a complete live recording of the Vienna Revival was made. A more popular item among fans is a DVD of the show recorded on these same two nights. A November 2007 release of the same live recording in widescreen spread over 2 DVDs also boasts a 1-disc companion with a short history of backstage interviews, pictures, and production videos from the last thirteen years of the musical, subtitled in English and Japanese.
  • CDs and DVDs have also been released for each of the nine Japanese productions of the Takarazuka Revue since 2016, and additionally for the Japanese 10th anniversary concert in February 2006. A CD has been released for the Vienna 10th anniversary concert which was staged in 2002.

As for the presentations in JapanEdit

In Japan, the director of the Takarazuka Revue, Shūichirō Koike was looking for musicals' works attracted his interest in collection of musicals' works at a music store in London in 1992, then the owner of it recommended this musical, "Elisabeth". The following year, Shūichirō Koike also received a German language's program of "Elisabeth" from a Chinese university professor living in Istanbul who visited the Revue as a guest. After these circumstances, the Takarazuka Revue acquired the right to perform this musical in Japan, and it introduced this musical to Japan for the first time in 1996.

The musical was premiered as the farewell performance of Maki Ichiro who was the top star at that time in the Snow Troupe (Japanese transcription: Yuki-gumi). The reputation of this musical was not very good at the beginning, but gradually it became so popular that tickets was not able to be obtained. Because it was the farewell performance of hers, it was questioned at that time, such as "Why does the top star play 'death' at the farewell performance?", "It is strange for the top star to play 'death' at the farewell performance.", but criticism gradually disappeared after the presentation started.

In addition, because enthusiastic musicals' fans criticized "the Takarazuka version is tampering with the Vienna version", the Toho version, which would be described later, was produced after the fashion of the Vienna version.

Although this musical was the program that depicted the history which was unfamiliar with the Japanese people, it achieved success, and after that it was presented repeatedly, and it grew into the popular program represented the Takarazuka Revue. As a result, this musical occurred "The Habsburg Monarchy boom" mainly among women, and the admiration for the splendid life of the Royal court caused an increase in tourists to Austria included Vienna.

"Der Tod" who is the key figure in this musical is the word which expresses "Death" or "Grim Reaper" in German language ("Der" corresponds to the definite article for "The" in English language.). In performances in the countries except Japan, the word corresponds to death is applied to the role name in the languages of those countries (It's "Death" in English translation of lyrics.). This is modeled on the customary practice of Languages of Europe that personify abstract concepts (In this case, it's "Death".), like examples in the artistic expression such as "Danse Macabre", the painting "Liberty Leading the People". On the occasion of presenting at the Takarazuka Revue, because the premiere was the farewell performance of Maki Ichiro, who was the top star at that time, the role name was "Death" had a problem as the top star played. Therefore, the role name changed to the Hades, "Tōto", which was the Japanese pronunciation of "Tod". In addition, in accordance with the tradition that the top star of the male role must be the leading role, the script and direction were embellished so that Tod was the leading role instead of Elisabeth. Therefore, the Takarazuka version which focused on the love story between Elisabeth and the Hades, and each country version, commencing with the Vienna version, which depicted comparing the entanglement between Elisabeth and "Death" to the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy, have different taste, even though they are the same musicals.

The number of spectators exceeded 2.5 million on September 20, 2018.

The Takarazuka Revue has been performing "Elisabeth" since 1996, in addition to this, Toho has been performing the Toho version of "Elisabeth" based on the Vienna version since 2000 in Japan. In the Toho version, scenes cut in the Takarazuka version were added, and the script, direction, songs, and lyrics were revised so that Elisabeth played the leading role as well as other countries' version. On the other hand, the Toho version can be said to be an eclectic version of the Vienna version and the Takarazuka version because the song (The Rondo of Love and Death) and settings (Hungarian revolutionaries, etc.) that were used only in the Takarazuka version were remained.

The role of Elisabeth was Maki Ichiro, who played the role of Tod at the Takarazuka premiere, the role of Tod was Yūichirō Yamaguchi, who was the performer of the former Shiki Theatre Company and Seiyō Uchino, who was the performer of the Literature Theatre (Japanese transcription: Bungaku-za), and the role of Lucheni was Masahiro Takashima, and the role of Rudolf was Yoshio Inoue, who was a student at Tokyo University of the Arts , etc. were selected at the 2000 Toho version premiere. New songs such as "Between Dream and Reality. (Japanese transcription: Yume-to-utsutsu-no-hazama-ni, German transcription: Zwischen Traum und Wirklichkeit.) " were written at the premiere of the Toho version. "When I Want to Dance. (Japanese transcription: Watashi-ga-odoru-toki, German transcription: Wenn ich tanzen will.)" and "Death of Sophie. (Japanese transcription: Sophie-no-shi)" were added in the 2004 repeat performance. Major changes to the direction, etc. were made during the 2001, 2004, and 2015 repeat performances.

Máté Kamarás, who played the role of Tod in Hungary version and Vienna repeat performance version, played the same role in Japanese language in the 2012 repeat performance.

Because of the spread of the Novel coronavirus:COVID-19 pandemic, all presentations including local ones were canceled in 2020.

Concerning the directionEdit

Concerning the direction, as far as the Viennese Theatre Association permits, this musical can be presented freely like other musicals created in Vienna for each production like operas.


  • ^a The Vienna Revival also went on to tour Japan in 2007. It opened in Osaka at the Umeda Arts Theatre on March 28, 2007 and showed 40 performances through April 30, 2007. On May 7, 2007, the production opened (in concert version) at the Koma Stadium Theatre in Tokyo. The Japan Tour of the Vienna Revival run ended on May 20, 2007.
  • ^b For two consecutive summers, these special, week-long invitational concerts were held by the historic Miramare Castle to promote the Vienna Revival. These performances were held during the show's annual summer pause, and several cast members from the Vienna Revival participated. The concerts were performed in German and Italian.
  • ^c Elisabeth premiered in the Hungarian language at The Open-Air Theatre of Szeged in August 1996. The Budapest production that premiered at The Operetta Theatre in October 1996, took over the repertoire for the previous Open-Air production. Between the years of 1996 and 2005, with allowance for casting changes and the use of the theatre's space for other various events, subsequent productions were held (including the Miskolc run). The Hungarian production has a running history of eight years, the longest running, un-interrupted Elisabeth production in the world.
    • A new production of the musical with a partially new cast opened at the Operetta Theatre in Budapest in July 2007. Since then, Elisabeth enjoys a regular run at The Operetta Theatre.
  • ^d Since 1996, the musical has been performed at least once by each of the five troupes of the all-female Japanese Takarazuka Revue.
    • Yukigumi/Snow Troupe- The Takarazuka Grand Theatre (February 16 - March 25, 1996); The Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre (June 3–30, 1996)
      • Reprise: The Takarazuka Grand Theatre (May 4 - June 18, 2007); The Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre (July 6 - August 12, 2007)
    • Hoshigumi/Star Troupe- The Takarazuka Grand Theater (November 8 - December 16, 1996); The Tokyo Takarazuka Theater (March 4–31, 1997)
    • Soragumi/Cosmos Troupe- The Takarazuka Grand Theater (October 30 - December 20, 1998); The 1000 Days Theater (February 19 - March 29, 1999)
    • Hanagumi/Flower Troupe- The Takarazuka Grand Theater (October 4 - November 18, 2002); The Tokyo Takarazuka Theater (January 2 - February 9, 2003)
      • Reprise: The Takarazuka Grand Theatre (July 22 - August 22, 2014); The Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre (October 11 - November 16, 2014)
    • Tsukigumi/Moon Troupe- The Takarazuka Grand Theater (February 4 - March 21, 2005); The Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre (April 28 - May 22, 2005)
      • Reprise: The Takarazuka Grand Theatre (May 22 - June 22, 2009); The Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre (July 10 - August 9, 2009)
  • ^e After its run in Berlin, the Semmel Concerts production of Elisabeth proceeded to tour Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria. Dates for the Semmel Concerts Tour are as follows:
    • Zurich-Oerlikon, Switzerland- Theater 11 (October 17, 2008 - January 4, 2009)
    • Antwerp, Belgium- Stadsschouburg Antwerpen (March 22 - April 19, 2009)
    • Munich, Germany- Deutsches Theater (October 21 - December 12, 2009)
    • Frankfurt, Germany- Alte Oper (December 18, 2009 - January 14, 2010)
    • Bremen, Germany- Musical Theater Bremen (January 19 - February 14, 2010)
    • Bregenz, Austria- Festspielhaus (February 24 - March 10, 2010)
    • Düsseldorf, Germany - Capitol Theater (March 18 - April 25, 2010)
  • ^f After its run in Seoul, Interpark revealed other cities EMK Musical COmpany's 2013 production of the Korean version of Elisabeth will travel to and perform in South Korea. Dates are as follows:
    • Busan, South Korea- Busan Cultural Center (September 14–15, 2013)
    • Daegu, South Korea- Keimyung Art Center (September 21–22, 2013)
    • Gwangju, South Korea- Gwangju Culture & Art Center (September 28–29, 2013)
    • Changwon, South Korea- Sungsan Art Hall (October 19–20, 2013)


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External linksEdit