Tár: Showroom Cinema events offer expert insight on what it is like to be a woman in classical music.

Posted 18 January 2023

Tár: Showroom Cinema events offer expert insight on what it is like to be a woman in classical music.

Todd Field’s Tár has been released in cinemas nationwide to widespread acclaim and is expected to be one of the films sweeping up during awards season. Cate Blanchett’s lead performance as fictional conductor Lydia Tár has been highly praised and is one of the favourites to win the Best Actress Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards.  

Despite the acclaim, the film has caused controversy with its portrayal of a leading woman in the classical music world. Blanchett’s character is one of the world’s most successful female conductors but faces allegations of sexual misconduct. Real-life conductor Marina Alsop spoke of feeling offended by the film in The Sunday Times, adding that “to have an opportunity to portray a woman in that role and to make her an abuser — for me that was heartbreaking.” 

Cate Blanchett has been among those quick to defend the film and its storyline. Quoted in Deadline on 14 January, Blanchett said that the film is “a meditation on power, and power is genderless” and added that the film is designed to spark conversations. To facilitate these important conversations, Showroom Cinema has teamed up with Dr Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey of the University of Sheffield to host two special events inspired by the release of Tár.  

Dr Ponchione-Bailey is an internationally renowned orchestral conductor and her research in Sheffield is focused on the social-psychological and socio-political aspects of orchestral music-making. On 20 January, she will introduce a special screening of Tár and discuss what an orchestral conductor does and how orchestral performance works, giving expert context to the world of the film. 

On 26 January, there will a special one-off screening of the documentary Call Me Madame Maestro, featuring women in classical music from around the world, including Dr Ponchione-Bailey, and captures and conveys their experiences over a thirty-year period. The film examines how once it was believed that only men could become conductors. Although this has changed over time, Call Me Madame Maestro asks how much society's view of equality permeate the world of music?  

This screening will feature an in-person Q&A Chief Executive of Music in the Round, Jo Towler, director Christina Olofson, and Dr Ponchione-Bailey. This special discussion will offer the opportunity to explore the real-life world of classical music that inspired Tár and give voice to the real women in the music industry.  

Tickets for Tár and Call Me Madame Maestro are on sale now


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