While a seemingly minor character, Wagner’s noble horse Grane has a big role to play in his Ring cycle. As the loyal steed of heroine Brünnhilde, Grane transports her throughout her journey, from battlefields to Valhalla, the dwelling of the gods, to Midgard (Earth) and beyond. When she must part with her lover Siegfried, she gifts him Grane as a token of her love.
Grane’s big moment, however, is at the climax of Twilight: Gods—the end of the entire Ring cycle—when he takes Brünnhilde on to their final destination into the flames of the funeral pyre of her newly-slain beloved. With this act, Brünnhilde destroys Valhalla and the gods once and for all and restores peace to the world.
In traditional productions, Grane is portrayed by live horses, a delightful surprise to the audience. Wagner’s original 1876 production at Bayreuth featured the black stallion Cocotte, a prized equine loaned for the purpose of playing Grane by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. But Twilight: Gods within the Detroit Opera House Parking Center is anything but traditional. In a uniquely Detroit twist, our Brünnhilde rides to the end in style —in a Ford Mustang. In fact, our modern “steed” is Ford’s 10 millionth Mustang, an ode to the company’s storied past and an example of Ford’s long-term support of Michigan Opera Theatre.
True Detroit horsepower meets the power of music drama in this one-of-a-kind finale only possible in the Motor City!
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Today, June 24th, marks the fiftieth anniversary of Detroit Pride, a milestone that we are also celebrating at Detroit Opera!