Cate Blanchett's 'Tár' Offends A World Renowned Lesbian Conductor
Marin Alsop, the most prominent female conductor in the world, has come out to say that she is "offended" by Lydia Tár, the character often cited as her literary equivalent. Cate Blanchett's "Tár" offends a lesbian conductor, Marin Alsop, as a woman ... as a conductor... as a lesbian.Dr. Cooney BladesJan 12, 202369 Shares1731 Views
Marin Alsop, the most prominent female conductor in the world, has come out to say that she is "offended" by Lydia Tár, the character often cited as her literary equivalent. Cate Blanchett's 'Tár' offends a lesbian conductor, Marin Alsop, as a woman ... as a conductor ... as a lesbian.
Alsop criticized the portrayal of Lydia Tár, a fictitious abusive narcissistic maestro who abuses her pupils and exploits her workers, in an interview with the British newspaper the Times.
So many superficial aspects of Tár seemed to align with my own personal life. But once I saw it I was no longer concerned, I was offended: I was offended as a woman, I was offended as a conductor, I was offended as a lesbian.- Marin Alsop, A lesbian conductor
Both Alsop and the main character in Todd Field's critically acclaimed film "Tár" are trailblazing American conductors, teachers at major American conservatories, lesbian mothers married to fellow orchestra musicians, and protégés of legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein (though Tár's claim is questionable).
Cate Blanchett, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the fictitious maestro, also plays a narcissistic and manipulative abuser who is accused of sexual assault by a female subordinate.
To have an opportunity to portray a woman in that role and to make her an abuser for me that was heartbreaking. I think all women and all feminists should be bothered by that kind of depiction because it’s not really about women conductors, is it? It’s about women as leaders in our society. There are so many men actual, documented men this film could have been based on but, instead, it puts a woman in the role but gives her all the attributes of those men. That feels antiwoman.- Alsop, Chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and a MacArthur “genius award” winner
Blanchett's fictitious maestro references Alsop, the former music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other real-life female conductors in the first act of "Tár."
As to the question of gender bias, I have nothing to complain about. Nor, for that matter, should Nathalie Stutzmann, Laurence Equilbey, Marin Alsop or JoAnn Falletta. There were so many incredible women who came before us, women who did the real lifting.- Adam Gopnik, New Yorker writer
To the contrary, Alsop told the Sunday Times that she does not think "there will be a period when there are no hurdles for women" in the field of orchestra conducting, thus contradicting her fictional counterpart.
Despite the fact that there is no such person as Lydia Tár, the Times notes that Blanchett's character has some major parallels with Alsop (beyond their common profession): Tár, like Alsop, teaches at a prestigious American music institution, mentors young women in conducting, and received training from conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein. Like her, she is a lesbian mother who has raised a kid with her long-term instrumentalist partner.
The female protagonist in "Tár" fits the archetype of an egotistical, self-important genius. Alsop continued, saying the picture is "somewhat hazardous because people may become confused about what's genuine and what's not."
As of August 2021, when Alsop ended her 14-year term as conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, there was not a single female conductor among the 25 major orchestras in the United States, according to The New York Times. In October, Stutzmann became the only conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Although "Tár" clearly struck a chord with Alsop, it seems to have had the opposite impact on cinema reviewers. The film and Blanchett have won many accolades already, including an AFI and a Gotham, and it is nominated for three Golden Globes on Tuesday night: best picture, best actress, and best script. Also, come March, when the Academy Awards are handed out, it will likely be a key factor.