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Thursday, 16 December, 1999, 13:10 GMT
Pavarotti's divorce drags on

Pavarotti and his lawyer Nerino Giardini leaving court

Opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti and his wife, Adua, have appeared in an Italian court for one last attempt at reconciliation, but they will not be getting back together.

Pavarotti's wife of 35 years, Adua Veroni Estranged wife Adua Veroni
The couple went through the motions during a brief hearing - which is required under Italian divorce law - in the 64-year-old singer's home town of Modena.

Pavarotti told reporters afterwards: "We had to have this meeting, so we did it." His estranged wife dodged the media and left from a different entrance.

The tenor is hoping to end his marriage so he can wed his 29-year-old former secretary Nicoletta Mantovani, with whom he has been living for several years.

The Pavarottis now have to reach a financial settlement.

Lawyers have denied news reports that 62-year-old Adua is seeking more than 60m.

Tax probe

However, it is thought Adua may wait until police have conducted a separate investigation into the singer's tax affairs so a precise assessment of his wealth can be reached.

Wealthy: Pavarotti is the subject of a tax probe
The Italian tax authorities ordered Pavarotti to pay more than 3.5m in taxes, but he has refused on the grounds that he has been a resident of Monte Carlo since 1983.

Adua's argument, however, is that, as his wife and business manager for 35 years, she is entitled to a cut of all the success he now enjoys.

The delay in the divorce proceedings is a bitter blow to Pavarotti, who had hoped to marry Nicoletta earlier this year.

In January, Pavarotti spoke of Nicoletta as "the woman I love" as they discussed their plans to start a family.

Nicoletta, who is younger than Pavarotti's three daughters, said: "I really want a baby. And even though Luciano's life is filled with love from his children he would still like another.

"We will enter the year 2000 as man and wife. Isn't it great?"

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See also:
01 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Opera House prepares for gala re-opening
27 Apr 99 |  Europe
Pavarotti stung by the taxman
04 Jan 99 |  Entertainment
Music of the millennium

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