YMMV / Elisabeth

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "Kitsch", in the Takarazuka versions, is no longer about Lucheni selling souvenirs of the royal family at Elisabeth's coronation, and is instead about... Elisabeth collecting photos of beautiful women to convince herself that she's more beautiful? While a group of extras dance around wearing costumes of different countries? The new lyrics are still about Elisabeth's vanity, but the whole thing is odd and out-of-nowhere if you're expecting it to be at least superficially similar to the German version.
  • Broken Base:
    • A case of this applying to where a song is placed: "Streit Vater und Sohn" — before or after "Die Schatten werden länger"? It varies depending on the production, but in most versions it's placed after "Die Schatten". Whether it makes more sense there is another matter.
      • Similarly, "Nichts, nichts, gar nichts" — before or after Franz cheats on Elisabeth?
    • The changes made to the show over the years. Some fans like them, some fans accept them but prefer the earlier versions, and some fans hate them and think they've ruined the show.
    • The Hungarian productions' decision to add a subplot about Hungarian politics. Some fans think it's an interesting look at Elisabeth's influence on Hungary, and others think it's unnecessary and slows down the show.
    • How ethereal and otherworldly should Death be? The fandom tends to be sharply divided along the line of pretty Deaths (Uwe Kröger, Máté Kamarás, all of the Zuka actresses) versus roguish masculine Deaths (Mark Seibert, Oliver Arno, etc.)
    • "Kein Kommen ohne Gehn": Some fans like it, some fans like it but only in non-German productions, and some fans hate it for several reasons, including it replacing the earlier song "Schwarzer Prinz".
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Death has many, many fans, despite being a personification of death who stalks Elisabeth all her life and convinces her son to commit suicide.
  • Ear Worm: Just try getting the songs out of your head. Any of the songs.
  • Evil Is Cool: You can't possibly toss a ball into a room filled with Elisabeth fans without hitting someone who loves the show because of Death, whether it be All Girls Want Bad Boys or Love to Hate. He's snazzy in every version. Into Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous? There's Uwe Kröger and an entire fleet of Takarazuka actresses. Adore Hell-Bent for Leather? There's Mark Seibert and the rest of the new Deaths in the German/Austrian productions. Somewhere in between? Hello, Máté Kamarás. The show is very often marketed as a love story between Elisabeth and Death, and/or a triangle if you add Franz Joseph.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Der Tod's evilness is as much up for debate as his sexiness.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: As of February 2017, Rudolf/Death is the ship with the most fics on Archive of Our Own, followed by Elisabeth/Death. It's common for fans to start watching the show because of Die Schatten werden länger, the "gay duet".
  • Follow the Leader:
    • Michael Kunze obviously got the idea for the show after working on the translation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Tim Rice's musical Evita; there are way too many similarities between the two shows to ignore this. One can say that Elisabeth is virtually Evita on an epic scale.
    • Similarities to The Phantom of the Opera (also translated by Kunze for the Viennese/German premiere) are also prevalent, particularly with the Viennese revivals.
      • The leading ladies' names get musical motifs to go with them. "Christine, Christine..." "Elisabeth..." (sung by Death and Franz Joseph), and "Elisabeth, Elisabeth!" (sung by the chorus of the dead).
      • A Möbius strip Shout-Out even occurs with Sisi's famous star dress: Emmy Rossum's Think of Me costume in the 2004 movie is a near-duplicate of it.
      • Ich will dir nur sagen (the reprise of Ich gehör nur mir and act one finale) is a three-way song with Death, Elisabeth, and Franz Joseph. Death is dressed in black and sings to Sisi from within a mirror, which the Phantom also does prior to leading Christine into his lair for the famous title song.
  • Genius Bonus: While it's definitely not necessary to enjoy and understand the show, knowledge of Heinrich Heine's poems helps you understand a lot of der Tod's lines. Also, many lines said by Elisabeth, Franz Joseph and other Historical Domain Characters are based on things they said or wrote in reality.
  • Growing the Beard: Compare the national tour album and the 2012 Vienna revival album. It has nearly the same cast, bar Rudolf. (Oliver Arno for the former and Anton Zetterholm for the latter) Death (Mark Seibert) and Elisabeth's (Annemieke van Dam) voices both broke on the highest notes of their showstoppers, Der letzte Tanz and Ich gehör nur mir. Nearly everyone sounded high-pitched and/or off-key (the ensemble chorus for "Die Schatten werden länger" grated on the ears), plus the nigh-omnipresent growling and snarling from Seibert. All of this were fixed/toned down for the revival, making it a great entry point for new fans.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Annemieke van Dam made her Elisabeth debut as Miss Windisch, a madwoman who believes herself to be the Empress. She went on to play the actual Elisabeth, and no other role in this show, in Berlin, Zurich, Vienna, and on tour.
    • Frank Wildhorn wrote a different musical focusing on Rudolf's life and eventual death at Mayerling. Many Elisabeth alums went on to work in this later show. Just the original cast of Rudolf: Affaire Mayerling includes Uwe Kröger (Death), Claus Dam (Maximilian of Bavaria), Carin Filipčić (Duchess Ludovika and Madame Wolf), Kai Peterson (Count Schwarzenberg), Robert D. Marx (Emperor Franz Joseph), Martin Pasching (covered pretty much every male role), and Kathleen Bauer (swing/cover).
    • Lucheni mentions that Elisabeth saw a terrible vision during Rudolf's birth, of her son leading a revolution with towering barricades, red flags, and people threatening her with fists raised high.
      • Martin Pasching and Anton Zetterholm, both Rudolfs, went on to play Enjolras, the leader of such a revolution, in Les Misérables.
      • Oliver Arno was Death, Rudolf, and Marius.
      • Pasching and Uwe Kröger (the original Death, and Inspector Javert), provided the fandom with the Ho Yay-tastic cover of Die Schatten werden länger while in costume as their Les Mis characters. Enjoy.
    • At least two actors (Jesper Tydén and Oliver Arno) have played both Death and Rudolf. Seeing an actor go from trying to seduce Elisabeth in one production to playing her son in another is either funny or surreal.
      • On that theme: Mark Seibert and Anton Zetterholm played Willemijn Verkaik's love interest in Wicked, the former in the Stuttgart premiere and the latter in Willemijn's dernière in Oberhausen. Mark and Anton ended up kissing in this show, as Elisabeth's lover and son. note 
    • In Roméo et Juliette, de la Haine à l'Amour, Mark Seibert's character gets killed by Lukas Perman's character. In this one, it's the other way.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Der Tod's duet with Rudolf, "Die Schatten werden länger" ("The Shadows Grow Longer"), is basically made of this. Considering that many versions, including the original, include multiple near kisses initiated by der Tod and interrupted by Rudolf, this is more akin to intentional Homoerotic Subtext than Ho Yay.
    • Many actors seem well aware of this and some even seem to add "more" homoeroticism to the interactions. Oliver Arno, for example, has been in at least three different productions with three different actors as Rudolf, and always seems to make the scene as homoerotic as he feels he can get away with. The various Rudolfs always go along with this, reacting in such a way that certainly makes it seem as though Rudolf is getting at least a little turned on.
      • If the Rudolf (example: Lukas Perman, with Mark Seibert as der Tod, which can be seen in the new tour trailer on YouTube) bends over a little too much when der Tod is controlling him in Die Schatten, the results look... awfully sexual...
      • In the Toho production, Death emerges from within Rudolf's coffin for "Totenklage". One has to wonder what he was doing in there with the Prince...
    • Also, quite often there's something going on between Lucheni and der Tod. Especially in the Takarazuka versions, and in this Hungarian version, where Lucheni strokes and then kisses der Tod's hand.
  • Iron Woobie: Franz Josef gets this big time. After what happened to him in real life during and after his time with Sisi, could you really blame him?
  • Love to Hate: A section of the fandom is interested in der Tod because of his Blue and Orange Morality and status as a Manipulative Bastard, finding themselves disliking him as a character but thoroughly enjoying his stage-time, especially during Ship Tease and Ho Yay moments.
  • Mind Game Ship: Both Death/Elisabeth and Death/Rudolf. However, the Mind Games and More Than Mind Control aspect really comes to the fore with the latter ship. Death always bodily manipulates Rudolf during their seduction duet, with the level of physical contact and mind control subtext differing between actors/productions.
  • Narm Charm:
    • In many versions of "Wir oder sie", Sophie and her minions wear weird horse costumes, apparently to emphasis the Chess Motifs. It should detract from the seriousness of the scene, but somehow it doesn't.
    • The puppet-like way the extras dance in many songs, most notably "Prolog" and "Alle Fragen sind gesellt", should be silly, but done well it becomes very unnerving.
  • Painful Rhyme:
    • "Ich flieh, wenn ich fremde Augen spür,/ denn ich gehör' nur mir".
    • "Majestät, der Krimkrieg droht sich ernsthaft auszuweiten. / Dass wir Russland diesmal beistehen, ist nicht zu vermeiden." (This one is made worse by the fact that most actors tend to overpronounce the different consonants in the "rhyming" words, making the flawed rhyme even more obvious.)
    • "Nichts ist schlimmer, als zu wissen, / wie das Unheil sich entwickelt, / und in Ohnmacht zusehen müssen."
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some fans have this reaction to the various changes made to the show over the years. The main complaints are adding or removing songs, changing the sets and costumes, and rearranging the order of scenes.
  • Uncanny Valley: Shirota Yu (Toho production)'s portrayal manages to be a mix of this, Nightmare Fuel, and Narm Charm. His movements as Death is an odd combination of feline, simian, and human.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The Thun production is weird even by the standards of this show.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • The Hungarian versions have Death wearing sparkly make-up. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; depending on the actor, it may emphasise Death's inhuman nature. Unfortunately, there's no denying that some actors look utterly ridiculous in it.
    • Not to be outdone, this Berlin production inexplicably has Death sporting a bizarre hairstyle. It makes it hard to take him seriously.
    • In the 2013 Korean production, Death spends half his scenes providing a male example of Absolute Cleavage for no apparent reason.
    • "Ich will dir nur sagen" has Elisabeth wear a replica of the historical Elisabeth's star dress. Some productions use a very good replica, and some... don't.
    • The less said about Death's onetime white cowboy outfit, the better.
    • The Toho productions give Death a shirt that's almost completely open at the front, and give the Todesengels outfits that invoke Bare Your Midriff.
  • Woolseyism: The Hungarian production gives considerable attention to the impact Elisabeth had on Hungary herself compared to the Viennese versions. The Japanese productions adopted this interpretation too, probably because it gives the actor (or actress) playing adult Rudolf much more to do.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Elisabeth