The annual summer of opera is back with eight local singers joining a team of international artists in the gardens at Chiswick House in July.

With one of west London's historic buildings as the backdrop, families are invited to enjoy the experience in an informal setting while indulging in a picnic and raising money towards the continuing restoration projects in the house and gardens.

Focus Opera will put on two stage performances, starting with Verdi's tragic opera La Traviata - about a Parisian courtesan who sacrifices all for love - on Wednesday July 1, followed by the story of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss - a tale of revenge and practical jokes - on Thursday July 2.

Sarah Helsby Hughes, who appeared in last year's Chiswick Opera, will be directing and performing on both days,.

Chiswick House Friends, the promoters of Opera in the Gardens, use the events to generate funds to help support special projects, educational initiatives and acquisitions at Chiswick House.

Opera chairman Diane Treganowan said: “An evening watching Focus Opera in these beautiful gardens with a glass of wine and a picnic is truly an English summer at its best.

"The popularity of Focus Opera’s performances are increasing every year as opera lovers across west London discover their exciting and witty adaptations of popular productions.

"Furthermore we’re raising funds to support important projects in the house and gardens.

“A special mention must go to the local people who volunteer their time and expertise help to make these events happen."

Gates open at 6pm with performances starting at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £35 for adults and £18 for children (aged five to 16) with 10% discount for groups of 10 or more. Tickets from