When the lights go down at the beginning of the next concert you attend, look carefully at what the conductor is wearing; you might find that fashions are changing. The black tailcoat, or frac as the Italians call it, is no longer being worn by all conductors and each one seems to be setting his own style. British Sir Simon Rattle, the director of the Berlin Philarmonic, has adopted a white shirt and silk damask waistcoat, as has Andr Previn the musical director of the Oslo Philarmonic. Gianluigi Gelmetti, musical director of the Rome Opera house has taken to wearing an all black outfit, shirt, trousers and waistcoat, while Vladimir Ashkenazy directs the orchestra from the piano, sporting a white roll neck and a black jacket. Antonio Pappano, the new musical director of the Academy of S. Cecilia in Rome, who also holds the same position at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London, chooses to wear a tailcoat but not the tie. There are still some traditionalists, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel and Riccardo Muti, all remain faithful to the conventional white tie and tails.
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