THERE is a queen, a soldier and an illicit love.

No, its not the latest episode of Emmerdale, but Henry Purcell’s much-loved opera, Dido and Aeneas which will be brought vividly to life in a concert performance at The Octagon.

This English baroque masterpiece concert comes from the leading UK choir and period instrument ensemble, Armonico Consort, whose recording of the work, released last year, has been critically-acclaimed.

Dramatic, tragic and powerful, this was Purcell’s only full opera, written in the late 1680s and apparently performed only once during his lifetime.

Based on Virgil’s Aeneid, it recounts the story of Dido, Queen of Carthage’s love for Aeneas, the Trojan prince. Dido’s Lament, When I am laid in earth, is considered one of the finest arias in English opera and has been much used in TV and film soundtracks, and annually as part of the Armistice Day commemorations at London’s Whitehall.

Yvette Bonner sings the title role of Dido, Elin Manahan Thomas is Belinda with Gareth John as Aeneas. Christopher Monks directs Armonico Consort and Baroque Players.

The concert also includes Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, written during the final weeks of the 26-year old composer’s life. Featuring soloists Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano) and countertenor William Towers, this deeply moving piece is widely recognised as the definitive setting of the spiritual text and has been described as ‘the master work of Latin music’.

The Octagon, Yeovil. Friday 19 February at 7.30pm.