Battle looms over Pavarotti's will

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Luciano Pavarotti was buried on Saturday in his home town, Modena, with all the pomp and dignity of a state funeral. But the funeral baked meats – more likely the tortellini and tagliatelle beloved in the town – were scarcely digested before the speculation about his will got under way.

The tenor's loved ones sat close together at the ceremony in Modena cathedral: his former wife Adua, their three grown-up children and his second wife Nicoletta even shared a pew, the one closest to the coffin. But the two wives sat at opposite ends and exchanged neither a glance nor a smile. The bitter feud that erupted when Pavarotti's affair withNicoletta became public continues even after the singer's death.

Attention now focuses on who gets what. According to Alberto Mattioli, writing in La Stampa yesterday, Pavarotti's second marriage was already in trouble when he fell ill with pancreatic cancer. Mattioli quotes Pavarotti telling a female friend: "Nicoletta and I are thinking of a separation. I'm thinking of seeing a lawyer." What stopped him, it is suggested, was his love for his young daughter Alice, and the rapid progress of his illness.

His relations with his fiery and super-capable first wife, Adua, in disarray since the night she threw him out of the house in 1993, had recovered to some degree: they spoke regularly on the phone, it is claimed, and he paid his first return visit to the home from which he had been expelled (but where his parents continued to live) for the birthday of his first grandchild, Caterina.

How will the singer's fluctuating affections be reflected in the final settlement? Will the apartment on New York's Upper East Side, said to be worth at least $11m (£5.5m) with spectacular views of Central Park and directly below Sophia Loren and Carolo Ponti's flat, go to Nicoletta? Or could the healing of wounds with his first family mean that it passes to one of them?

Or might another of his flames benefit? Largely unnoticed in the acres of pious commentary about Pavarotti's funeral was the presence there of at least one other significant figure in his life: the American soprano Madelyn Monti, his former student and frequent collaborator. She and Pavarotti enjoyed "one of his most passionate love stories", according to Mattioli, lasting from 1979 to 1986.

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