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Tear Jerker / Elisabeth

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  • Oh god, where do we start? Most characters die (and since they're all historical figures, it's safe to say that all of them died), there are tons of child-parent-conflicts, tons of dark looks at society, future etc. Really, it'd probably be easier to write down the scenes that aren't heartbreaking.
  • It's also fair to mention that if a scene isn't a Tear Jerker then it's Harsher in Hindsight. Lighthearted songs like "Wie Du" and "Nicht ist Schwer" tend to get a Dark Reprise.
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  • "Mama, wo bist du?" is a rare case of an already dark song getting a Darker Reprise in "Rudolf, wo bist du?" Especially heart-breaking is Elisabeth begging Death to take her... only for him to throw her own words back at her.
  • "Bellaria", in a sort of Alas, Poor Villain way. It's the only time in the show that Sophie has any humanising moments.
    • It's especially sad in the Hungarian version. The German version has her walk off-stage, and there's a brief mention later that she died. In the Hungarian version, we actually see Death come for her.
    • And she doesn't even get Bellaria in the Takarazuka production. The last time we see her, she's pulled offstage by a crowd of angels.
  • "Wenn ich dein Spiegel wär". After being caught in a conspiracy, Rudolf goes to beg Elisabeth for help... and she turns him away. Just to twist the knife, his last words to her are the exact same words she said to Franz Joseph earlier.
    • Some productions do play up that she does genuinely care for the Prince and does want to help him, it's her own stubbornness and pride to face her husband and the courts that causes Elisabeth to turn Rudolf away, making her regrets after his suicide all the more shattering, as it was fear and not callousness that prevented her from saving her son.
  • "Mayerling-Walzer". Rudolf fans are likely to sob at the poor little prince caught up in Death's machinations. Any way the actors interpret it, it's horrible.
    • If Rudolf fires the gun himself before Death kisses him (example: Uwe Kröger and his Rudolfs), then it's the tragedy of a young man so depressed and broken that he voluntarily falls into the arms of Death.
    • If Death forces the gun to a struggling Rudolf's temple (clearly frightened and confused out of his mind) and kisses him at the same moment the gun goes off (example: Mark Seibert and Anton Zetterholm), then it's Rudolf being merely used as a pawn in Death's efforts to break Elisabeth.
    • If Death holds Rudolf for a brief moment before letting him fall to the ground (or descending into the underworld with Rudolf limp on his arm, as in the Takarazuka production), it's tearjerking that the only person who seems to care about him in some way is Death. Sena Jun twists the knife with her mournful expression, seemingly considering Rudolf's suicide a necessary evil or at least unpreventable.
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    • If Death immediately throws Rudolf away after the gunshot, like he's afraid of dirtying his hands, and letting his Todesengel drag the prince in like a sack of potatoes, then it's because he doesn't give a damn about the young man who, at the very least, considers him a friend.
    • The 2016 Toho production turns Mayerling into a series of "right-in-the-feels" stabs for fans. The More Than Mind Control subtext is incredibly strong between Death and Rudolf, and their final scene takes this to its natural conclusion. Rudolf grows increasingly deranged-looking as he gets tossed around by the Todesengel, begging Death for the gun and trying to resist. At one point, the Prince (looking terrified out of his mind) tried to make a break and run for his life, but Death appears to telekinetically pull him back. The music reaches a climax and silence note  as Death does give the Prince the gun. Rudolf looks out at the audience, his eyes snapping from the Thousand-Yard Stare he's been sporting on and off throughout the show to fiery with purpose, and he strides over to kiss Death himself, full on the mouth. And Death kisses him back. GENTLY. Rudolf then fires the gun.
    • The Takarazuka choreography has Death and Rudolf freezing at the climax of the music, with Death's hand on Rudolf's forearm, guiding/forcing the gun to the Prince's temple. Rudolf's actresses either go for terrified (Akatsuki Chisei), eager (Serika Toa), or flat out dead-looking (Akizuki Saya) as his final expression. In the 2018 shinjin kouen performance, Ayaoto Sena manages to makes it even worse by having Rudolf smirk in a manner terribly similar to Akatsuki Chisei as Death.
  • Speaking of Mayerling: the slow, deliberate, inexorable five toll of the bells after Death has walked away. A death knell for the fallen Prince.
  • Mari Hanafusa's utterly broken, ear-piercing scream of despair and pain as Sisi flees from the Imperial Crypt after Lucheni snaps a photo of her and Death after he has rejected her.
  • On that note: Maya Haakvort's rendition of the "Totenklage" on the 2005 Vienna recording has her begging Death (played by Mate Kamaras) to come to her...before keening "Free me!"...this leads Death to reject her as she did earlier in the musical,using the same words to boot.
  • "Der Schleier fällt" is a Tear Jerker anyway, but some productions make it even sadder by having Death walk away and leave Elisabeth lying there after he kisses her.
  • In "Wie du (Reprise)", Elisabeth realises her father, even as a ghost or a dream, cares more about himself than her. In "Wenn ich dein Spiegel wär", which in most productions comes immediately after "Wie du (Reprise)", Elisabeth shows she cares more about herself than Rudolf. Ouch.
    • Some productions have Elisabeth off-stage or behind a mirror during most of "Wenn ich dein Spiegel wär". Others have both her and Rudolf on-stage for the whole scene, so in at least one version Rudolf tries to take her hand... and she turns away. Takarazuka and Toho up the ante by having Rudolf bend down and hug Sisi around the waist (or hold her hand in both of his), but she's unresponsive. The 2018 Zuka production made it even worse - Akatsuki Chisei's Rudolf stumbled as Manaki Reika (Sisi) peeled herself away, indicating that he was clinging to her with no intention to let go.
  • "Am Deck der sinkenden Welt": Some productions have Elisabeth trying to climb onto the platform where Death is standing, but she can't reach him. It's painful to realise that even in Franz Joseph's nightmare, Elisabeth wants nothing to do with him and is trying to reach Death.
  • A bit of Fridge Tear Jerker: "Wenn ich tanzen will" becomes Harsher in Hindsight when you realise that this is the last time in the show we see Elisabeth truly happy (until "Der Schleier fällt", which is a Tear Jerker too). At the start of the song, she's happy because she's just been crowned Queen of Hungary, and by the end of the song she's defied and evaded Death again. Her next appearance, depending on the production, is either "Nichts, nichts, gar nichts", where she reflects on how unhappy she is, or "Maladie/Die letzte Chance", where she learns of Franz's cheating.
    • As pointed out on the Awesome page: Just after Sisi shows that Death has no power over her in "Wenn ich tanzen will", we immediately get Rudolf falling into Death's thrall with "Mama, wo bist du".
  • "Boote in der Nacht" is tragic in all productions, but the Korean versions add two Call Backs that make it even worse. In Korea, "Nichts ist schwer" has Franz and Elisabeth getting on a boat together and being rowed out to an island. "Mama, wo bist du?" has Rudolf holding a toy ship. "Boote in der Nacht" has Elisabeth set down the toy ship and watch as it's carried away, while Franz stands on the island, unable to reach her.
  • In the 2014 Takarazuka production, during "Jedem gibt er das Seine" Franz Joseph clearly wants to pardon the woman's son, but Sophie interferes. The distraught look on Franz Joseph's face and the way he seems to be trying not to cry as he signs the death warrant just make it even sadder.
  • Furukawa Yuta's Rudolf hugging Inoue Yoshio's Death at the end of Die Schatten. It's vaguely heartwarming as Death is clearly surprised but returns the gesture... then he ruins the moment by slowly turning to the audience and smirks triumphantly, as if to announce that Rudolf was his.
  • Toho Death's stunned, lost look at the camera right before the smash cut to black (Der Schleier fällt) turned the "lover's reunion" into a Downer Ending.
  • For the closing night (senshuraku) performance of the 2016 Takarazuka production, Rudolf (Sakuragi Minato) mouths "Mama!" note  before he's pulled into the pas de deux.
  • Takarazuka has Death literally kicking Rudolf for Mayerling. How tearjerking this is is heavily dependent on the actress: Sena Jun (a kinder take on the character)'s kick was almost a nudge that didn't really have any power in it, and Rudolf recovers quickly from it, scrambling up off the floor. Tamaki Ryou's (a villainous, manipulative take) kick seems to be an utterly vicious one in-universe, because Akatsuki Chisei rolled nearly to the edge of the stage.
  • Meta moment: Asumi Rio (2009 Rudolf, 2014 Death) did a photoshoot in her Rudolf costume. One of the pictures has Death's disembodied hand note  draped across Rudolf's body, suspiciously close to his throat. The concept is repeated in another picture, with Rudolf's eyes closed and the hand being that of Manaki Reika (2018 Sisi), gently touching his cheek. The implication is that, as an adult, he can only receive the tender love of a mother in his dreams (his Imagine Spot coronation sequence, for example), or after he's dead (Totenklage).
  • Musical meta: Rudolf's harmony in "Die Schatten werden länger" borders on a Creepy Monotone, drowned out by Death's melody. No matter what he thinks, the prince is a helpless cog in the machinations of the plot (and of Death, depending on the production), just a pawn to further things along.
  • The 2019 concert in Vienna provided a truckload of these.
    • Helene runs offstage, seemingly in tears, after Franz Joseph chose Sisi.
    • Their blocking for "Wenn ich dein Spiegel wär": Rudolf kneels at Sisi's feet, his hands clasped. She stands above him - it looks like he’s praying to a goddess to intercede. But she is immovable and cold. Death stands above the tableau. Sisi rejects Rudolf, and sits down, off to the side of the frame, absorbed in a book. Death walks down the staircase, passing her. Rudolf says, inflectionless, “And so, you have abandoned me.” Cue the angels.
    • Rudolf being thrown unceremoniously offstage, as if into the abyss. (It's not even visible whether he actually got the Kiss of Death.) There's also a short, strangled cry that sounds like "Mama!"
    • Sisi holding Rudolf's discarded coat after Mayerling, weeping, apologizing, far too late.
    • Meta: Pia Douwes remarking that it's now easier for her to play the older Sisi, weighed down with cynicism after all the tragedies in her life... because she has gone through her share of sorrow.
  • The first time we hear "Die Schatten werden länger" is after Elisabeth's daughter, Sophie, dies of a fever. Death confronts her and warns her that more is coming and that it's useless to reject him further. A rough English translation is below:
    The shadows slowly lengthen
    It was night before your day began
    The shadows slowly lengthen
    The world dies with you. Don't hold onto it.


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