SoHo 1975 Until

Below is a series of emails that internationally recognized scenographic designer and painter Franco Colavecchia wrote to me in September 2023. The space between “stanzas” represent the beginning of a new email. Strung together, I thought they read like a memoir-poem. I am reprinting them here with the author’s permission.

SoHo Memory Paintings | Franco Colavecchia

SoHo 1975 Until
by Franco Colavecchia

Soho 1975 until
What was so extraordinary was how one would and could meet At sometime
Have conversations
With well known and famous artists and artistes
As I did either in cafes
Or in my studio or on the street

Woody Allan
Mia farrow
Terence stamp
Beverly sills
Chuck close
Romaire beardon
David Hockney
Mickey Rooney
Sir Anthony Caro
Donald Judd
Ray Parker
Robert Wilson
Meredith monk
Jean Michelle basqiat
Frank Corsaro
Allesandro siciliano
Grethe holby
Toby Robertson
Nathaniel Merrill
Caroline lagerfelt
Robert Chapman
Frank langella
Robert longo
Ina Mayhew
Some of these people
I Knew very well as I was a set designer working
In theatre and opera
And my Greene street
Studio and rehearsal
Space was “home”
To so many artists
Either socially or
 Creatively in performing arts
“Franco colavecchia is sohos set designer “

Just by standing on
My loading dock
I would meet and
Speak to for instance
David Hockney
Or chat to Anthony caro
And his students
Robert longo
And Grethe holby came by to seek advice

On set design
Frank corsaro from New York City opera
Was so often at my studio
As we designed sets for
Opera in USA and Europe

Every morning Chuck close would walk by my
Stoop on Greene Street
And all his dogs
And a greeting was usually made
I would wave to Romaire beardon
And I knew the painter
Richard Mayhew
Who would often sleep
At my loft and his daughter the movie production designer Ina Mayhew
Was my opera collaborator for set design

Next door from 98 Greene street was the art gallery
That exhibited miles Davis
Painting and a shared stoop and  slight few
Meetings with miles

Christoph doychnani the conductor visited to discuss his own production of the magic flute for Cleveland orchestra
He arrives in chauffeur driven rolls Royce

In 1977 Grethe holby and I
Made 98 Greene street
Dance and acting
Rehearsal space
Some musicians
And a set and costume
Design studio
And often
A performance space
For the 1970s soho dance
Phenomenon that ensues
Grethe holby went on to
Create American opera projects
And other entities for
Promotion of new music
And libretto’s for opera

In 1980s Grethe Holby’s opera america makes
New opera ideas
I make simple sets
And an audience
Is built
The operas are avant
Garde and received
Grethe makes the
New opera music in soho
And she is so adventurous
And eventually Grethe takes her productions to
Other venues

From 98 Greene street soho
I create opera productions
For New York theatre
And operas in Europe
And across America
And opera managers
Visit soho
From some European
Opera companies
But mainly from Greene street I make designs
For Los Angeles
Monte Carlo
Oslo Norway
And many opera houses

Grethe holby is still in soho
With her opera offices on
Broome street

I’m retired from nearly 45 years as a set designer
And a painter
And still painting
And making paintings
“ soho memoirs “

The dyptich
At 9 ft x 6 ft

Restaurants menues
And artistic venues

Artists venues soho
A very large painting
Overlaid by street map
Of soho is in Boston

“Dining at berrys bistro”
Appears in many
Of my series

Grethe’s group was named
American opera projects
I remember a particular
“ Dracula “
“ uptown “ opera folk
Used to attend our

Soho appears in
“Paynes grey designer “
A film about my opera

Film by raber umphenour

As you are making memories of soho
I’ve been making memoirs
Soho -1980s
Since 1999

In my paintings
Spring st restaurant
La stragha
The cupping room
Elephant and castle

Sent from my iPhone
Septemer 26, 2023

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