When opera and ballet collide the result is Viva La Diva, the new spectacle from the unexpected duo of Katherine Jenkins and Darcey Bussell that will tour the UK later this year. The production premieres on 25 November 2007 at The Lowry in Manchester before visiting eight other cities, including two nights at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on 11 and 12 December.

In Viva La Diva, opera superstar Jenkins and prima ballerina Bussell will sing and dance their way through a £1 million evening of Hollywood tributes - think Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse, Dita Von Tesse and Maria Callas.

Jenkins says the pair have been planning the event for almost two years and she is looking forward to collaborating with Bussell whom she has long admired. “Her movement and style are second to none,” Jenkins says. “I'm thrilled to be working with her … on all creative aspects of the show".

Bussell, who retires from the Royal Ballet in June 2007 after two decades with the company, says working with Jenkins will allow her to try new things on stage. “I am stepping into a variety of different styles of dance (including flamenco and tap) that I have always had a passion to perform,” Bussell says. “Katherine's voice has an exceptional quality and I'm very much looking forward to combining our very different talents”.

Bussell, 38, told The Sunday Times this week that the show was different from anything she knew: “I have always wanted to try a different style, but more as an entertainer. I love the old Hollywood movies.” Kenneth MacMillan spotted Bussell while she was a student at the Royal Ballet School and she was made the youngest principal of the Royal Ballet at age 20.

Jenkins’ career began at the age of 12 when she became the BBC Welsh Choirgirl of the year. She has since performed at major international venues across the globe and has released four number one classical albums (two have been named album of the year at the Classical Brit Awards). She is now 26.

In addition to London and Manchester, Viva La Diva will visit Brighton, Cardiff, Bristol, Bournemouth, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow, where the inaugural tour concludes on 21 December 2007.

- by Malcolm Rock