PARIS — The new concert hall here, the Philharmonie de Paris, rises like a flight of doves, its sprawling waves of concrete and steel designed by the star architect Jean Nouvel to symbolize the end of the “eternal ostracism” of the struggling neighborhoods nearby.
After seven years and long delays, the 386 million euro ($455 million) hall — clad in 340,000 interlocking gray, cream, pearl and ivory cast-aluminum birds on the wing — finally opens on Wednesday. President François Hollande of France will inaugurate the hall, and the Orchestre de Paris will play the Requiem by the French composer Gabriel Fauré in a memorial tribute to victims of last week’s terrorist attacks here.
The lingering question about the Philharmonie — after years of political wrangling, infighting, cost overruns and work stoppages — is whether it can truly emerge as a temple of sound that brings egalité to classical music. The hall is on the edge of the Parc de la Villette, in the 19th Arrondissement in northeast Paris, just inside the ring road that symbolizes the divide between the wealthy center of Paris and the working-class and poor suburbs outside of it. The challenge is to still attract aging concertgoers from the center, where most of the city’s established cultural institutions are, but also to reach new generations in the suburbs, or banlieues, long scorned by the City of Light.