NEW YORK (AP) _ Luciano Pavarotti, one of the world's most famous opera stars, has collaborated with a number of pop musicians, including U2's Bono, Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin and the Eurythmics' Annie Lennox.

But Madonna has been playing hard to get.

``I have wanted to sing with Madonna for a very long time,'' said Pavarotti in Sunday's editions of The New York Post. ``She has promised that she would sing, but I do not know if she was joking or serious. But I think she was serious because she is a serious lady. She is also a superb singer.''

Pavarotti, 64, is scheduled to perform at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.