Chiswick House Opera In The Gardens

The Barber of Seville and Cosi fan Tutte

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Following their acclaimed debut last year the dynamic London-based Focus Opera will bring two new productions to Chiswick House this week. This will be the 10th anniversary of the annual summer opera season in Chiswick House gardens where watching opera in an informal setting is combined with picnicking to the backdrop of one of London’s most stunning historic buildings.

Rossini’s comedy, ‘The Barber of Seville’ will be performed tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd July featuring renowned soloist Sarah Helsby-Hughes along with her partner Nicholas Sales. The baritone Alex Poulton, takes on the role of the infamous scheming barber Figaro.

On Thursday 3rd July Focus Opera will perform the elegant comedy of manners, Mozart’s ‘Cosi fan Tutte’ in a modern English translation. Sarah and Helen Evora, who is making her debut with Focus Opera, take on the roles of the two sisters whose lovers test their fidelity. Soprano Catrine Kirkman will appear as the scheming friend, Despina.

Tickets for both performances cost £30 for adults and £15 for 5-16 yrs (includes p&p and no booking fee), and are on sale now from

Performances start at 7.30pm each evening but gates will open at 6.00pm for time to have supper on the grass beforehand. Audiences are encouraged to bring blankets and cushions as seating is not provided. Food stalls will be selling a variety of goods for those who don’t want to bring their own picnic, with beer and champagne on sale during the evening from sponsors Chiswick brewer Fuller Smith & Turner.

Focus Opera’s Artistic Director Keith Cheetham, an award-winning producer and director for film and TV, said: “Focus Opera is delighted to be invited back to perform at Chiswick House Summer Opera for a second year. The joys of performing here include the stunning setting but also the uniqueness of the relationship with the audience. Gone are some of the formalities of a conventional theatre allowing a close rapport between performers and audience to develop across the gardens. This is especially important for Focus Opera, supporting our aim to offer opera in an accessible and enjoyable manner for all.”

Promoters Chiswick House Friends created the opera season to help support special projects, educational initiatives and acquisitions at Chiswick House. Opera Chairman Diane Treganowan comments: “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. Furthermore we’re raising funds to support important projects in the house and gardens. Over the past 10 years we have supported various projects and this year we are aiming to make a substantial contribution towards the restoration of the Melon House.”

“We are delighted Focus Opera is back at Chiswick for a second season this summer,” Diane continues, “Last year’s production was a runaway success. We’re expecting this year’s performances to be equally memorable.”

June 20, 2014