Revered British director Mike Leigh will direct his first ever opera in London next year (15).

The Vera Drake filmmaker, who has also written and directed a number of theatre plays, will branch out into the world of opera when he helms Pirates of Penzance.

Bosses at the English National Opera (Eno) announced his debut, adding that he joins a list of British filmmakers who have tackled opera including Terry Gilliam and the late Anthony Minghella.

Eno's artistic director, John Berry, says, "I contacted Mike Leigh in the same way I contacted Terry Gilliam. I sort of lured him into an idea that he fell in love with. The great thing about the Mike Leighs of this world, the late Anthony Minghella, Terry Gilliam is they are really interested in doing different things. We have challenges here, one of them is not the challenge of attracting great artists."

Pirates of Penzance will debut at the Coliseum opera house next year (15).