Byline: Aileen Mehle

Now that Luciano Pavarotti, the trilling tenor, and his wife, Adua, married to the 60-year-old triller for 35 years, have officially separated with divorce on the horizon, nothing stands in the way of blissful togetherness with his 26-year-old secretary, Nicoletta Mantovani. They’ve been duet-ing for months on the sly anyhow, but now it’s all out in the open. He loves her — amore! amore! — and she loves Luci! Chalk it up to la forza del destino!
What it cost Luci to make the break is said to be the royalties from all his records — millions a year — which Adua will receive till her death and which will then go to their three grown daughters, all of whom are older than Nicoletta. But Luci’s not counting. It’s the future he’s addressing. He has always longed for a son — or two. So he and Nicoletta have been seeing fertility experts in London, Paris and Rome to speed things up. May the forza be with them! Nicoletta was waiting for him at the Hampshire House, where he was expected to arrive last night. And won’t she be front and center at the Met when he opens in “Andrea Chenier?” Si! Si! Si! And pass the pesto.

Don’t look for party burnout in London anytime soon. Tim Bell, Prime Minister John Major’s press attachA, raised the rafters at Annabel’s for his wife Virginia’s 40th birthday, the sweet thing. Also, Prince Edward’s 32nd birthday arrived over the weekend and his mummy, The Queen, gave him a do at Windsor Castle. But Edward, not one to miss anything, made certain to get to Annabel’s too, with his fiancee Sophie Rhys-Jones on his arm. It was also Robin Hurlstone’s birthday — that’s Joan Collins’ Robin Hurlstone — and he was at the Bell party, but without Joan, who’s flogging her new book in the States.
Among those lighting up the room were such titles and aristos as Prince Michael of Kent; Viscount David Linley and his wife, the lovely Serena; the Saachi brothers, Charles and Maurice, and Maurice’s wife, the novelist Josephine Hart; the Rocco Fortes; Sir Mark and Lady Weinberg (she is the designer Anouska Hempel), and Richard Curtis, who wrote “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” with his wife, Emma Freud. (Someone remarked that anyone who would write “Four Weddings and a Funeral” needs a Freud around — but she was just jealous because the flick was such a hit, the silly cow.)

Fashion is invading the Oscars — onstage — when, for the first time ever, there will be a runway presentation of the nominated clothes for Best Costume Design. Some of the world’s most famous faces, including the luscious Bridget Hall and the luscious Tyra Banks, will do their turns wearing the creations of the five nominees, “Braveheart,” “Restoration,” “12 Monkeys,” “Richard III” and “Sense and Sensibility.” Also, you can get ready for Vera Wang that night. Wearing slinky navy blue matte jersey bell-bottoms and flashing a 25-carat diamond ring from Harry Winston, VW will do a post-Oscar wrap-up of fashion do’s and don’ts with Joan Rivers for the E! Channel and for People Magazine. Vera has confessed, the darling, that she has created 14 outfits for such Oscar nominees as Sharon Stone and Mare Winningham and for such presenters as Alicia Silverstone and Halle Berry. May the best thespian win.

The Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway will benefit the Actors Fund, and all sorts of biggies have joined the committee for the 10th annual gala at the Lucille Lortel Theater on May 6. Walter Cronkite and Wendy Wasserstein are the co-hosts of the evening, and the luminaries gracing the committee include Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson, Kathryn and Robert Altman, Johnny Depp, Marsha Mason, Bette Midler, Sidney Lumet, Robin Williams, Penny Marshall, etc., etc., etc. It was Lucille Lortel who practically created off-Broadway with the first successful commercial production in 1956, a revival of Kurt Weill’s “The Threepenny Opera,” starring Weill’s wife, Lotte Lenya. Since then she has gone on to produce the first plays in this country of some of the century’s renowned playwrights, including Athol Furgard. Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child” was first performed at the Lucile Lortel and “Mrs. Klein,” starring Uta Hagan, is there right now.

On May 8, Cartier is planning “Une Grande Fete Francaise,” a gala dinner for a select 500 to benefit AmFAR. The spectacular celebration of France and French culture will kick off in Switzerland and land here in New York at what is still a secret location. I love a mystery, don’t you? Flying in to host the big night will be Alain-Dominique Perrin, the chairman of Cartier International who will be ably assisted by Ralph Destino, Cartier’s chairman here, and Simon Critchell, its president. And because a fete of this magnitude owes so much to its committee members, you will be thrilled to hear that among them are Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman (they seem to have a thing for committees), Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Nan Kempner, Jodie Foster, Raquel Welch, Cindy and Jay Pritzker of the Chicago Pritzkers, Mary Tyler Moore and Dr. Robert Levine, Judy and Sam Peabody, the Alfred Wilseys of San Francisco and more, more, more.

Eva Herzigova, the Wonderbra model — big stuff, she — is planning to be at the Oscar party that Entertainment Weekly is having at Elaine’s that fateful night, and everyone’s pretty excited about that, all right, all right. Don’t try sidling up to Eva because she’ll be there with Thomas Zumer, the president of Metropolitan Model Management. At Elaine’s, Eva will join such intellectual peers as Rose and William Styron, Art Buchwald, Nan and Gay Talese, Mary and Mike Wallace, Blaine and Robert Trump, Betsy and Walter Cronkite, Gerald Levin of the Time Warner Levins, Norman Pearlstine of the Time Magazine Pearlstines and Grammy producer Pierre Cossette, here preparing the musical “The Scarlet Pimpernel” for Broadway next season. I’m making this up, but wouldn’t it be great to have a big production number with a chorus of thousands singing, “Is he in heaven, is he in hell, that damned elusive Pimpernel?” You could look it up.

Remi Krug of the champagne Krugs is flying in from Paris for Fashion Week to christen The Bubble Lounge in TriBeCa, a new boote opening on March 28. The next night, Remi will be a high roller at the Vegas party given by Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Marc Jacobs at Manhattan Center, where Remi will host the Krug Room. Then he’s off to World Gym for Mark Eisen’s collection and to help the gorgeous Shalom Harlow pass out Krazy Krugs — that’s a half-bottle of champagne sipped through a straw. At the finale of Fashion Week at the Venus Awards, he’ll hand out Krug’s Best Runway Model of the Season Award at the Tunnel. Do you get the feeling he’s trying to tell/sell us something?

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