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As a young man, Schumann had got to know Byron's works through his father's publishing business. There is no question that the composer recognised his own psyche in Manfred's rugged soul. But he also responded to the challenge of Byron's artistic concept of Manfred as"mental theatre". In the Dusseldorf production, the audience"becomes" Manfred, experiencing through the eyes of the eponymous hero a projection of the visually alienated world of the Swiss mountains in which the story is set - visualisation by the Austrian media artist Johannes Deutsch.
"The visual impact is truly spectacular and combines with the words and music to create a unifi ed whole. ... With his youthful, honest diction, Johann von Bulow is an impressive Manfred."Das Opernglas