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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 14:38 GMT
Pavarotti in final 40-city tour
Luciano Pavarotti
Pavarotti received a standing ovation in Tosca earlier this year
Opera star Luciano Pavarotti, 69, is to give a final 40-city tour next year before retiring from the world stage.

The tenor, who turns 70 next year, will bring his 43-year career to a close with a global tour taking in Buenos Aires, London, Paris and New York.

The worldwide tour is the brainchild of British producer Harvey Goldsmith.

Pavarotti did not know where or when the tour would end. "When they are finished, I am finished," said the singer, who has sold millions of CDs.

"The tour is long but I never perform like a rock star night after night. I shall do a maximum of two or three concerts a month," said the Italian star in an interview with Reuters news agency.

Luciano Pavarotti
Pavarotti made his professional debut in the early 1960s

"It is exactly 43 years I have been going around here and there. Sometimes I don't know which bed I am waking up in," he added.

Pavarotti - one of the famous Three Tenors - has sold more than 100 million albums, making him the most successful classical artist in the history of the recording industry.

However, opera remains his greatest passion. "I would very much like to be remembered as a very serious opera singer."

He retired from his opera career last year, and among other things now teaches a two-year singing course at a music conservatory in his hometown, Modena.

In December, he is set to perform at an annual benefit concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Previous guests at the Pavarotti and Friends concert include Bono, Eric Clapton, Ricky Martin and Andrea Bocelli.

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