Following her ENO debut with After Dido in April, controversial theatre director Katie Mitchell returns to opera this month. She is directing a new production of James MacMillan’s 2000 opera Parthenogenesis in Covent Garden’s Linbury Studio.

Mitchell’s take on Purcell’s early opera at the Young Vic equally impressed with its technical dexterity and infuriated with its opacity as she used film techniques to create a unique operatic experience. It’s not clear how she will tackle MacMillan’s 50 minute work but the material itself is likely to challenge audiences.

Partenogenesis explores themes of virgin birth and modern genetic science, with an earth-bound angel among its dramatis personae. The composer will conduct the new production which will play for just five performances from 11 June.

Like ENO’s recent Doctor Atomic, the work takes science and ethics as its subject and promises a stimulating evening of theatre. James MacMillan, one of the UK’s leading composers, has only recently delved into the opera world, with The Sacrifice toured by Welsh National Opera last year.

Partenogenesis plays at the Linbury Studio on 11,13,15,17,18 June. Tickets are available from the Royal Opera House box office on 020 7304 4000 or www.roh.org.uk.

- Simon Thomas