Pavarotti plans to bow out with 40-date tour for half a million fans

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The Independent Culture

It will be the must-have ticket of the decade. Because when the fat man sings, it really will be over.

It will be the must-have ticket of the decade. Because when the fat man sings, it really will be over.

Luciano Pavarotti, the great Italian tenor who retired from the opera stage this year, has confirmed that he is embarking on a final, 40-date concert tour, during which he will sing to more than half a million people.

The tour will include three dates in the United Kingdom, one of which will be a climatic farewell to London. The venue is likely to be the Royal Albert Hall or the Royal Opera House.

The schedule has not yet been finalised and Pavarotti only signed the deal with the promoter Harvey Goldsmith this week.

Although demand for tickets is expected to be huge, Pavarotti has insisted that a high proportion of prices are kept at sensible levels. "Although there will obviously be prestige packages available, Pavarotti has always been insistent that there are always adequate supplies of low-priced tickets," his manager, Terri Robson, said last night. British tickets are expected to cost between £40 and £85.

Although Pavarotti has previously said he intended to sing his last note in public on his 70th birthday, 12 October 2005, the tour's itinerary will take him into 2006, climaxing in three final concerts in London, New York and Italy.

"Pavarotti has always considered London to be extremely important to him, so it is appropriate that one of the very last concerts will be held here," said Ms Robson, adding: "But he is not like a rock star [who] performs every night. He does maybe three or four a month, which is why the tour will take so long."

The tour will be filmed for a documentary and be followed by the singer's autobiography. "We are in discussion with several international publishing houses in order to secure the right deal," she said.

With sales of more than 100 million albums, Pavarotti is the most successful classical artist in the recording industry and popularised opera in the Three Tenors concerts with Placido Domingo and José Carreras.

His final opera performance was Puccini's Tosca in March at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, where he received an 11-minute ovation.

Yesterday, Pavarotti said: "It is exactly 43 years that I have been going around here and there. Sometimes I don't know which bed I am waking up in."

Asked which song would be his final performance, he said: "If you end like you begin, then I would say 'La Bohème'. It is my first love. But there is 'Nessun Dorma' which is almost a trademark. I was very lucky in my life. I always chose masterpieces." He added: "I would like to be remembered as a very serious opera singer."