Women & Classical Music

Tara Erraught (left) in Glyndebourne's production of Der Rosenkavalier

Tara Erraught (left) in Glyndebourne’s production of Der Rosenkavalier

Controversies that happen in the Classical Music World usually remain in the ‘Classical Music World’. Mainstream media outlets aren’t too keen to inform the general public about issues and breaking stories that involve opera singers, conductors, oboists, etc. But, something happened these past few weeks when some “critics” decided to condemn Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught on the basis of her appearance rather than her performance of Octavian in Glyndebourne’s Der Rosenkavalier.  Anastasia Tsioulcas over at NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” has written a new article about the maelstrom of criticism, diatribes, & and subsequent new supporters of Ms. Erraught.

From Ms. Tsioulcas’s article, “I would submit that this is a community which, on some level, still incubates the kind of “wisdom” openly spouted by the likes of conductor Vasily Petrenko and Bruno Mantovani of the Paris Conservatory. It’s found room for the kind of reviews in which assessing a woman’s body is a critic’s highest priority. That misogyny is neither veiled nor filtered, nor can it be debated through the lens of sex-positive feminism or self-empowerment on the part of an artist.

Is classical music especially antediluvian, or worse than popular culture? No, and I wrote as much in my first essay on the topic. But public articulations of contempt do not make classical music feel particularly welcoming for women and girls. Do I think that classical music is too sophisticated or high-minded for such sexism? No. But as a member of this community, I feel a responsibility to point it out and hook it into larger cultural conversations. (It’s particularly upsetting that this is taking place against the sobering context of the Isla Vista shootings.)”

Sadly, we don’t live in a post-feminist society. Men and even women believe that the first aspect that should be assessed of a woman is her looks. Talent, skills, capability, virtues, and (just forget) personality are tertiary values for women. This article and the other articles Ms. Tsioulcas sites are worth your read.

To read the original article ” In 2014, The Classical World Still Can’t Stop Fat-Shaming Women”, please click here.

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