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Shortly after completing his "10th Symphony", Beethoven is visited by the goddess Fate and told that he is about to die. Immediately following this, the devil Mephistopheles arrives and lays claim to Beethoven's soul, but is willing to exchange it for the 10th Symphony. The album follows Beethoven as he looks back on his life of hardships, wondering what he could have done differently to avoid this confrontation.
This work provides examples of:
- All Love Is Unrequited: Beethoven is convinced his adored Theresa would not love him if she knew he were going deaf. Cue Theresa's song about how she would have loved him if he had only given her the chance.
- All There in the Manual: The CD liner notes elaborate a bit on the story, including some events that are not actually covered by the songs themselves (such as the Twist Ending).
- Cherubic Choir: Appears briefly during the vocal breakdown in "Mephistopheles' Return".
- Deal with the Devil
- It's a Wonderful Plot: In an unusual variation, it is not Beethoven's impact on others that is the focus of this trope, but rather the impact of deafness, pain and hardship upon him and his music. Though there is a brief bit where the muse reveals to Beethoven that his music would go on to inspire generations of musicians after him.
- Leave Your Quest Test: Essentially, Mephistopheles' entire scheme.
- Necessary Fail: Mephistopheles gives Beethoven the chance to change his life. In each instance, Beethoven discovers his misery, heartbreak, and eventual deafness all contributed to his incredible music. In the end, Beethoven refuses to erase even a single moment.
- Pound of Flesh Twist: Mephistopheles eventually contracts for the 10th Symphony as written by Ludwig van Beethoven, firstborn of Johann and Maria van Beethoven. However, it turns out that the composer is actually the second-born (with the same name), and that the firstborn Ludwig died at birth, so the contract does not apply to the composer Beethoven.
- Rock Me, Amadeus: Most of the songs have melodies based upon Beethoven's works.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus: Not the best songs of the album, but he gives it a good try.
- Rock Opera
- Satan: Yup.
- Stealth Pun: Not all that stealthy, but spoilers to preserve plot. Fate's son is named Twist, and he delivers the surprise at the end. Twist of Fate, anyone?
- Twist Ending: heehee
- Villain Song: Tied between Mephistopheles and Misery, which is a cackling rendition of Mephistopheles' plan to kill a small child if Beethoven doesn't give over his soul. Featuring Jon Oliva's signature creepy laugh.
- "The Villain Sucks" Song: Mephistopheles' Return.