Dramaexport presented:



Dramaexport presented:


La Suggia - Velvet and Steel
27th September, Duke's Hall, Royal Academy of Music, London




La Suggia – Velvet and Steel



La Suggia – Velvet and Steel is a project, which intertwines classical and rarely performed cello music from the beginning of the 20th century with the story of two artists living in the exciting transitional age between the Victorian aesthetics and world view and the shattered reality of the First World War aftermath. Guilhermina Suggia, one of the most accomplished female cellists of her time, is tormented by the archetypal divide between the person and the musician within her; the artist needs to express herself and wants to communicate through music, but at the same time the only one who truly understands her is the person she sees in the mirror…The overwhelming devotion to the cello is everything for Suggia, her instrument – her greatest treasure.

Suggia is surrounded by ghosts, haunting her past and evoked by the music: her sister Virginia – a talented pianist, and cello icon Pablo Casals - her teacher and partner for seven years. There is another ghostlike presence in the play – Mr. Hudson, a wealthy businessman, who in his adoration offers Guilhermina the security of a marriage. Suggia, caught between vibrant past and her doubtful future marriage, finds consolation in music and her friendship with Augustus John. The celebrated artist painted the famous portrait of Madame Suggia in the course of three years. The excessive amount of time taken to work on the painting unveils a story of ambiguous platonic adoration and friendship with rich emotional texture. The portrait itself is more than an art work – it becomes an alter ego, an embodiment of Suggia’s talent and fame. Considered to be one of John’s greatest works, it is also the epitome of the union of two extraordinary artistic souls.


Written by Miryana Dimitrova
Directed by Valerie Welbanks and Miryana Dimitrova
Performed by Vera Erenbourg, Nathaniel Minall-Jones, Valerie Welbanks (cello), Judit Berendschot (cello), Jessica Maryon – Davies (piano)