David Adamson bears witness to a happy marriage of traditional and techno-inflected

Totally subjective rating: 10/10 for a beautiful balance of live orchestration and technology

Who: AFRODEUTSCHE with Manchester Camerata conducted by Robert Ames

Where: The Hall, Aviva Studios

What MIF 2023 says: Merging contemporary classical, techno, house and electro, AFRODEUTSCHE is no stranger to pushing boundaries.

What we say: As we settled into our seats in The Hall at Aviva Studios, we were treated to two of life’s great sounds: first, that of an orchestra starting up, the swell of strings in no particular melody but in harmony all the same, a sign that soon the air will be full of music.

Second was the sound of beer cans opening.

It prompted a few titters from within the audience, which is certainly better than a salvo of tutting. Ultimately, this was not your typical night of classical music.

That said, the usual respectful hush fell on the audience as the lights dimmed and the strings struck up, and while AFRODEUTSCHE’s burgeoning reputation comes from her work as a DJ and producer, the early pieces were quite straightforwardly classical, with not a beat or bleep to be heard.

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AFRODEUTSCHE with the Manchester Camerata and Robert Ames Image: Confidentials

This provided an opportunity for her lesser-known talent to take centre stage - a soothing, plaintive voice that softly intertwined with the cello and violin lines and created an almost immediate atmosphere of quiet contemplation.

Often at gigs the music makes my mind drift towards the mundane, a soundtrack for me to visualise whether I’ve enough coffee left in the cupboard, whether the bread’s on the turn, but here I slipped into a state of blissful nothingness.

She explained that these were “songs of worship and faith”, and I can sometimes find that too much can be made of what the art is about rather than simply what it is. Here the message and the medium were one, the whole performance a hymn to relinquishing yourself to something in the hopes of discovery.

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Michael England's visual accompaniments in the background Image: Confidentials

The rake-thin Robert Ames conducted, the willowy, gently bending centre around which the music moved, his delicate gestures and flourishes pulling the notes in slight and subtle directions. Between himself, AFRODEUTSCHE and the sublime talent of the Manchester Camerata there is a perfect marriage of the contemporary and the classical.

She then nipped offstage for a costume change, which served as a sort of sartorial punctuation mark before a markedly more ­techno-leaning second half. Here the orchestra embellished the nimble, complex patterns of the drum beats and behind them played a series of evocative scenes from cinematographer Michael England, each of them a dreamlike tableau of human vulnerability.

This performance, and the setting of The Hall, proved to be a sterling statement of intent for the MIF and its new home. I’d just suggest they install some draught taps in the bar.

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Aviva Studios from Festival Square Image: Confidentials

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Read again - The Big Interview: AFRODEUTSCHE, producer blending the classical with the computerised

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