George Michael Symphonica tour heading for Sheffield Motorpoint Arena - VIDEO

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IT’S not a Careless Whisper - pop superstar George Michael is making a classical comeback with his first ever date at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, writes digital editor Graham Walker.

He will be performing hits and other favourite songs re-arranged for an orchestra which will accompany him.

George Michael: At Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on Friday, December 2, 2011.

George Michael: At Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on Friday, December 2, 2011.

The Symphonica European Orchestral Tour will visit some of Europe’s most famous opera houses - including black tie events in London and Paris.

But the date every local fan will want in their diary is Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on Friday, December 2.

SEE THE STAR ON SATURDAY - MAY 14, 2011 - FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN FRONT ROW TICKETS.

VIDEO: Press the play button to watch George Michael’s press conference announce his tour details and other plans.

There’s been speculation for months that the pop superstar was heading for Sheffield, where he last played years ago with Andrew Ridgeley in Wham! at the City Hall.

Now it’s been confirmed and tickets are expected to sell out fast when they go on sale at 10am on Monday, May 16.

Rob O’Shea, General Manager of the Arena, said: “This will be the first time George Michael has played a solo show here in Sheffield and it will be fantastic to see one of the world’s biggest musical artistes on the Motorpoint Arena stage.

“We have had thousands of artistes performing at the Arena here over the last 20 years but this is one of those rare opportunities to see a true legend and there is already a real buzz of anticipation.”

It marks the chart-topper’s eagerly awaited return to the stage since the widely acclaimed 25Live tour concluded in Copenhagen in August 2008.

The tour will begin in August in the Czech Republic’s capital Prague, at the State Opera House - with him following in the footsteps of Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Enrico Caruso.

Other venues will include London’s Royal Opera House and Paris’ Palais Garnier, home of the city’s Opera from 1875 to 1989.

Several venues have been chosen for their architectural beauty, quality of sound and cultural history.

“This new classical setting will give each song added layers and new nuances. It’s unmistakeably George Michael, but not as we’ve ever known him,’’ said a show spokesman..

“Symphonica will be both a new musical direction for George, fulfilling a long-cherished artistic ambition and a significant cultural exchange, not least since many of the concerts will take place in specially selected venues - the first time George has played such settings - in countries including Denmark, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the UK.”

“For all the spine-tingling intimacy of his music and his still-spectacular voice, George Michael fills stadiums and arenas across the globe, making the prospect of him appearing in the exclusive settings of the Symphonica tour more special still.”

Ticket prices for the event and details will be announced at www.motorpointarena.co.uk.