Today George Michael announced his first tour since he "retired' in 2008, the Symphonica tour, which will see the pop star backed by European chamber orchestras. The tour will begin at the State Opera House in Prague on August 22, and will end at the MEN Arena in Manchester on December 12. A Paris date has already been set for the spring of 2012, leading many to think that a second leg of the tour, perhaps with dates outside of Europe, is being planned.
At least one of the shows will be at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in November to help raise funds for Elizabeth Taylor's AIDS Foundation and to honor her memory following her death in March. At a press conference held in London today Michael said, "At the moment there are four opera houses booked -- two of them will be for charity. The one here in the Opera House here in Covent Garden will be for charity and hopefully in honor of Elizabeth Taylor and making some contributions to her foundation... I knew her and she was such a wonderful lady and she worked so tirelessly and completely selflessly. I'd like to pay my respects in some way."
Michael also revealed that he is set to record a new album, this one involving a "gay collective." "I love the fact that house music has basically been a staple of the gay world since it has been invented really. I love the fact that now it's been brought into the mainstream so much my Lady Gaga and Rihanna," he said."I'm looking to work with either gay or gay friendly artists and I have a few provisional titles, but basically it will be a gay collective on which some of the records are sung by myself, some by other artists, possibly unknown ones, but there will be collaborations with a lot of artists. And of course, by the time I have the album out, I'll be 48. In pop you traditionally would be excluded - which is natural but in reality gay mens' relationship with dance music doesn't end at the same time."