Opinion | Critics of ‘Tár’ in the Music World

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To the Editor:

“Why Are Conductors Upset About ‘Tár’?,” by John Mauceri (Opinion guest essay, March 6), magnifies the profound misogyny that continues to keep women from positions of power and leadership in classical music.

Mimicking the behavior of scores of abusive men, “Tár” depicts a female conductor and composer modeled after no woman ever. Are we meant to sit idly by, enjoy the spectacle of her demise, fall into Cate Blanchett’s rapture, so starved of queer content that we are titillated by her performance of lesbianism and power?

For how long have I been asked, even with recent progress, why haven’t female composers and conductors reached the top echelons of classical music? Eyes roll when women describe ongoing abuse and inequity.

Mr. Mauceri dismisses the conductor Marin Alsop’s criticisms of the film. The position within a global symphony orchestra that Lydia Tár occupies has been elusive to all female conductors, including the real-life protégé of Leonard Bernstein, Ms. Alsop, who is profoundly overqualified. Women continue to be unheard, erased.

Meanwhile, brave alums of the Juilliard School are again calling out pervasive sexual abuse and assault in the composition, piano, conducting and jazz departments. Investigations ongoing, women never believed, perpetrators elevated and celebrated, truth kept from the printed page.

I am no longer willing to stay silent while great artists are taken out by the real-life male Társ. Enough.

Laura Karpman
Los Angeles
The writer is a composer and was the first female governor of the music branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

To the Editor:

Maestro Mauceri’s defense of “Tár” is admirable, but his assessment of why many of us in the music world find the movie so off-putting misses the main point.

The core problem with the character and the movie more broadly lies with the often smug depiction of what a conductor is all about and how those talented women and men bring the ink blots on the score to life.

What Lydia Tár does in the course of the story has no relation to reality, and while that may be fine if the piece were entirely fictional, it’s hard not to take issue when the screenwriters chose to land countless gratuitous punches on too many wonderful real artists, many of whom I’ve known and had the honor to work with.

But perhaps what is most ridiculous is Lydia Tár’s penchant for endless answers to interview questions and her lengthy, rather superficial explanations of music and her craft. That is not how conductors answer questions or speak to musicians.

You see, conductors communicate best not with words, but with music. That is their form of magic.

Believe me; I know. My father was the conductor Julius Rudel.

Anthony Rudel
Rockport, Mass.
The writer is a broadcaster and the author of books about classical music.

Trump’s Vow of Retribution

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Prepares for Long Fight as Rivals Loom” (front page, March 5):

At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, former President Donald Trump’s dark, grievance-filled speech was crystallized in his declaration, “I am your retribution.”

I have no doubt that if Mr. Trump loses the Republican nomination, he’ll run as an independent to punish the G.O.P. If he does become the next Republican presidential nominee and loses the 2024 election, he’ll once again rant that it was rigged, which will prompt a bloodier, more violent insurrection.

If Mr. Trump wins re-election, he’ll become emboldened in his autocratic tendencies and feel invincible to all scrutiny — the hallmarks of autocrats and dictators.

This former president remains a cancer on our body politic.

Martin Geller
Manhasset, N.Y.

Lunar Standard Time? Or a Timeless Moon?

To the Editor:

Re “Call for Order as Moonshots Multiply” (news article, March 8):

I understand certain logistical reasons for having a lunar time zone, as planned lunar visits proliferate and one distant day a human colony may be established on the moon. But must this neighborly orb of poetry and myth, tides, wonderment and quiet beauty really be relegated to a time slot?

Can it not remain timeless, with coordinated adjustments for arrivals and departures calculated among earthly nations? After all, that is not rocket science.

Susan Wunder
Therwil, Switzerland

Mayor Adams, Don’t Beat Up on Kansas

To the Editor:

Re “Topeka Mayor’s Advice for Eric Adams: Learn Humility” (nytimes.com, March 1):

Why does Mayor Eric Adams keep criticizing Kansas?

I am a proud New Yorker with Kansas roots. I was raised there, was elected to the Legislature and ran for Congress before launching a new life in New York with my wife, elderly parents and young children. Nearly 15 years later it’s the best decision we ever made.

New York is the greatest city in the world because we welcome people of all types. Proud New Yorkers don’t punch down; we lift up. Beneath the sometimes gruff exterior, New Yorkers are the nicest, most helpful people in the world.

I never had to open a door when pushing a baby stroller — and when my 81-year-old father fell on the sidewalk, a good Samaritan called me and stayed with him until care arrived.

New York gets millions of visitors — not just for our amazing food and entertainment, but because of our big hearts and open minds.

Mayor Adams, real New York swagger isn’t shown by pettiness and insults but by inclusion and respect.

Raj Goyle
New York

Addiction Facilities in Harlem

To the Editor:

Re “One Year Inside a Radical New Approach to America’s Overdose Crisis,” by Jeneen Interlandi (Opinion, Feb. 26):

The safe injection site approach, and other harm reduction services, may work as intended when facilities are not hyper-concentrated in a few neighborhoods like Harlem.

If you don’t address the hyper-concentration of facilities and the very complex historical factors causing “medical redlining” — siting facilities based on race, economic status and lesser local capacity to oppose services like methadone clinics and addiction services — your journalism won’t help move the needle to get these facilities placed in regions like Staten Island and Queens that reject them but need them.

At worst, your coverage will get elected officials, or private donors, to release more money for more addiction facilities in Harlem. Non-addicted Harlem residents are being strained to the breaking point under the weight of the services and from people traveling to Harlem from outside ZIP codes already.

For example, three Harlem Village Academy schools on my block of West 124th Street, with more than 96 percent Black and brown students, are located less than a block away from three methadone clinics that bring hundreds of addicted people to their block daily from as far away as Staten Island.

Over-concentration only benefits drug dealers and causes an increase in harm both to vulnerable users, as dealers descend on the concentration of addicted people in Harlem in predatory fashion, and to the non-addicted local residents.

Hudson Roditi
New York

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