Over 100 years have passed since the assassination of Elisabeth, the Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The perpetrator, Luigi Lucheni, continues to stand trial in the Court of Purgatory. The Empress herself had wished to die. When asked to provide the reason for Elisabeth's murder, Lucheni answers in the affirmative. He beckons the soul of the deceased and makes them testify on the checkered fate that Elisabeth had followed. What did Elisabeth want, and what did she love?
Der Tod, the king of the Netherworld who knows the answers to those questions, emerges in the pitch darkness. Acknowledging his love for the Empress, he starts to speak about his great affection for Elisabeth.
Back in 1853, when Elisabeth was 15, she yearned for the carefree life of her father Max, who lived free of the constraints of social norms or conventions, and so she spent her youth as she pleased. One day, while trying to walk on a tightrope, she slipped and fell, and suffered a serious injury that rendered her unconscious. As she wandered the valley separating life and death, she encountered Der Tod, the king of the Netherworld, at the gates to Hades. Just as he was about to deliver the kiss of death, he became captivated by Elisabeth, who looked at him directly with eyes brimming with life.
Tod's heart shook from a love he has never known before. Determined to follow Elisabeth no matter where, until the time she herself asks to die, Tod returned her to the world she came from.
Around this time, the Austrian Empire is under the reign of young Emperor Franz Joseph. In fact, real power was grabbed by his mother, Empress Dowager Sophie. With the aim of arranging a marriage to maintain peace within the Hapsburg family, Sophie summons her younger sister Ludwika and Ludwika's daughter Helene to the summer retreat of Bad Ischl. Sophie selects Helene, Elisabeth's elder sister, who is Franz's cousin, as his companion. Yet an unexpected event occurs at the gathering. Elisabeth just happens to be there, and Franz lays eyes on her for the first time. He becomes captivated by the charming Elisabeth and proposes, asking if she would spend the rest of her life with him. Although confused over the suddenness of it all, she obediently accepts the direct words of the Emperor.
The following year, the two hold their wedding ceremony at the Augustinian Church in Vienna. Franz and Elisabeth have unquestioning faith in their eternal love. Tod, however, has been watching events and has already made up his mind. "In the end, I will win," he tells himself.
Is it possible for Death to love someone, and for someone to love Death? "Rondo of Love and Death" is about to begin.