Art and Concert Series Kicks Off in Milan

More than 200 concerts, plays and exhibitions have been organized in Milan to mark Italy's semester in the European Union presidency, which began July 1.

The art and concert series features artists that contributed to the creation of a European identity.

"This program is an appetizer of sorts, taking us towards the opening of the Expo 2015 world's fair next year, when our city will be at the center of the world stage," Milan mayor Giuliano Pisapia said. "It is also our attempt to promote dialogue between different cultures, in a semester that I hope will mark a change in the relationship between Italy and Europe".

The series, kicking off this week, begins with an exhibition of 220 works by early modernist painter Marc Chagall at the Palazzo Reale. On November 28 and 30, the artist will receive a musical homage during a concert by the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra at the Milan Auditorium.

Another exhibition opening this week at Palazzo Reale features the works of Italian 19th-century Divisionist painter Giovanni Segantini.

From October 16 to March 15, the Novecento Museum will host an exhibition investigating the similarities between the works of French monochrome painter Yves Klein and Italian painter and sculptor Lucio Fontana.

La Scala opera theater is set to open the season with Beethoven's Fidelio directed by Daniel Barenboim, while various European orchestras and symphonies are scheduled to perform 36 concerts in different city venues.

The Piccolo Theater  will put on 25 shows, including one dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci, "a symbol of Milan and of Expo 2015", organizers said.

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