Last year, touring artists latched onto the full-album concert format in droves. Now the trend is towards the orchestral interpretation of classic songs by iconic rockers.

Sting is just the latest performer to announce tour plans backed by more than the usual guitar-and-drums band. The former Police frontman will launch a summer trek with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by Steven Mercurio, which will hit over a dozen major North American markets.

As it stands now, the itinerary for “An Evening with Sting” launches with a June 2 performance at the Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, BC. Additional concerts follow on June 9 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO; June 15 at Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, CA; and July 17-18 at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL.

Ticket sales for the three June engagements will begin March 8, after an exclusive American Express presale from March 1 through March 7. Onsales for the back-to-back July dates will open April 22, according to a statement from promoter Live Nation.

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Though the tour starts in North America, it will eventually branch out to include additional summer dates around the world. Still in the works are performances in New York City, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Washington, Toronto and Montreal, as well as later dates across the UK and Europe.

Each destination’s set list will feature new interpretations of some of the biggest hits from Sting’s career, both with The Police and as a solo artist. The singer-songwriter had previously reworked his tunes for 2008 performances with a couple U.S.-based orchestras.

“Performing with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra was truly a highlight of my career,” Sting said in a statement on his official Web site. “I’m delighted by this new opportunity to tour with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and reinterpret the songs I’ve been playing for many years.”

Sting’s live collaboration with an orchestra follows a similar announcement from one of his musical contemporaries, Peter Gabriel. The former Genesis vocalist will play at least four North American concerts with a 54-piece orchestra during his New Blood Tour this spring.