Where to Go Now: What’s New in Milan, Paris and Manchester, England

Written By wartini cantika on Rabu, 15 April 2015 | 17.35

Photo The Tree of Life in the construction zone of the 2015 World Expo in Milan, which begins May 1. Credit Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

A dozen different European destinations, including Macedonia and the Faroe Islands, made our list of 52 Places to Go in 2015. And since the list was published in January, a few of them have enjoyed the opening of cultural centers and exhibitions. Milan, which topped our list, is gearing up for one large event beginning in May. Here's a rundown of highlights this spring.

Milan

Is Milan ready for the 2015 World Expo? The six-month event, including 60 pavilions sponsored by more than 130 nations and organizations, begins May 1, even if, as Reuters reported, the centerpiece was a mass of trucks as of mid-April.

With a theme focused on food and sustainable practices, the Expo will include interactive exhibitions like the Future Food District, a space to explore technological advances affecting the global food chain, and the Lake Arena, a mirrorlike pond and fountain fed by water from the city's canals. Giving a taste of various national cuisines, dozens of pavilions will also be hosted by restaurants, including the upmarket delicatessen chain Eataly (as well as Coca-Cola and McDonald's, fueling criticism that the theme of "sustainability" is cloaking the interests of conglomerates).

The event is expected to attract 20 million visitors.

Even with construction delays, the Expo's commissioner, Giuseppe Sala, told reporters in Milan this month that he remained confident construction would be completed in time. After all, he said, "When has it ever been the case for a project like an Expo or Olympic Games, that all the building work has been finished 30 days before the opening?"

There is still plenty to do in Milan beyond the Expo. Old structures of various stripes, including a sawmill, a foundry, a bank and a farmhouse, have recently been repurposed as bars, shops, restaurants and cultural centers. Not least of all: the majestic Duomo, whose gleaming facade has been restored.

Photo The 2,400-seat concert hall Philharmonie de Paris. Credit Dominique Faget/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Paris

No. 42 on our list, the Île-de-France — the district that encompasses the city and its outskirts — received a boost in January with the opening of the Philharmonie de Paris, the 2,400-seat concert hall designed by Jean Nouvel. The $455 million birdlike aluminum structure, nestled amid the Parc de la Villette in the 19th Arrondissement, borders the ring road that separates Paris's arrondissements from its working-class, poorer suburbs, or banlieues. Its location was part of an effort to draw new audiences to classical music, including younger people and suburban families.

"The goal of outreach was definitely realized," The New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini wrote about the inaugural concerts and classes in January that attracted thousands of people, including parents pushing baby strollers. The spring's program is a hybrid of classic and contemporary music, with an exhibition on David Bowie, through May 31, alongside a series of concerts and workshops on the composer Pierre Boulez. In addition to performances by the resident orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the hall will welcome touring companies like the London Symphony Orchestra on April 20 and the artist Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet on April 25 and 26.

Manchester, England

Cultural openings continue in this industrial, artsy city, No. 26 on our list. After a £15 million (about $22 million) renovation and expansion, the Whitworth reopened in February with two new wings, an art garden and a sculpture terrace. Through May 31, a retrospective of the English artist Cornelia Parker's work is on display, and one on the Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang continues through June 21 in the new landscape gallery. Opening on May 21 is the £25 million film center and theater HOME, which also includes gallery spaces, digital production and broadcast facilities, a bar and a bookshop. On its calendar are ambitious new productions like the play "The Funfair" and the exhibition "The heart is deceitful above all things," both drawing inspiration from the Hungarian playwright Odon von Horvath's "Kasimir and Karoline."

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