Is Lydia Tár a real person? Her true identity

Lydia Tár

Tár looks at the dramatic fall from grace of world-famous conductor and composer Lydia Tar, portrayed expertly by Cate Blanchett. The film opens with Tar at the peak of her powers. Her latest challenge is recording Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with the Berlin Philharmonic. 

Tar is famous but not universally loved, especially by the people who know her personally. Lydia has the talent and ability to remain at the top, but her cruelty and selfishness prove to be her downfall. Tar’s world starts crashing after inappropriate behavior with a former student, Krista, leads to Krista’s suicide. 

Lydia Tar is a fictional character written by Todd Field

Tar looks and feels like Lydia Tar’s biopic, but it isn’t – the film is entirely fiction, and Lydia Tar is not a real person. 

The film’s writer and director, Todd Field, wrote Lydia Tar’s fictional story specifically for Cate Blanchett. “The script was written for one artist, Cate Blanchett,” Field said in a director’s statement. “Had she said no, the film would have never seen the light of day. In every possible way, this is Cate’s film.”

The filmmakers deliberately marketed the film as a biopic, leading to questions about Lydia Tar’s identity. The film’s description on Lettarboxd reads:

“Set in the international world of classical music, [the film] centers on Lydia Tar, widely considered one of the greatest living composer/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.”

Many fans have mistaken Lydia Tar for a real person, only to find out after the film that she isn’t. “After those final credits roll, you can’t Google what really happened to Tar because there is no Tar,” Brooke LaMantia writes on The Cut.