Former Talking Heads frontman and artist David Byrnehas introduced to a North American audience a work-in-progress musical show about the life of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos.
The singer-songwriter and indie rock pioneer performed his work Here Lies Love at New York's Carnegie Hall on Saturday night, accompanied by a small orchestra.
He was joined onstage by Philippine-born actress Joan Almedilla, who portrayed the former beauty queen-turned political figure, and singer Ganda Suthivarakom, who plays the role of Marcos's long-suffering nanny and maid Estrella Cumpas.
"This is quite a place to audition new material," Byrne told the audience at the beginning of the evening,pausing between songs to shareinformation about Marcos.
Here Lies Love — reportedly the phrase Marcos has requested be inscribed on her tombstone — comprises 23 songs written by Byrne in collaboration with award-winning British DJ Fatboy Slim.
The Scottish-born Byrne, who has described the song cycle and multimedia show as a sort of "disco opera," first performed the songs last year at Australia's Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts.
He has said he would ultimately like to see Here Lies Love performed in a night-club setting, befitting both the work's disco and dance-influenced music as well as the fact that, during her husband's time in office, Marcos enjoyed frequenting the famed Studio 54 when she visited New York.
Byrne's staging of Here Lies Love was part of Perspectives: David Byrne, a four-night musical series he programmed for Carnegie Hall.
Marcos, the subject ofthe award-winning2004 documentary Imelda, became renowned worldwide forher extravagant lifestyle during her husband Ferdinand Marcos's 20-year rule.
After he was ousted in 1986, their family fled to Hawaii, where he died three years later. She and her family returned to the Philippines in 1991.