Tarleton’s Department of Fine Arts will host a performance by Opera Workshop students under the direction of assistant professor Dr. Iwao Asakura on at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

Students will present Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.

The story of Dido and Aeneas comes from Virgil’s Aineid. Aeneas, the Trojan hero, had to flee his homeland after the Greek capture and sack of Troy. On his way to his destiny (founding Rome) he was storm-tossed onto the shores of Carthage. The opera is a classic “boy meets girl” love story, except that the girl, Dido, happens to be the queen of Carthage. The story ends sadly, not because one dies but because the gods remind Aeneas of his sacred task of founding the empire that, ironically, would eventually destroy Carthage.

Dido and Aeneas is considered the first great dramatic music composed in England. Henry Purcell, at age 30, was at the height of his powers when he composed the opera to a libretto penned by Nahum Tate, at the time England’s poet laureate.

Featured performers will include Ashley Morrison, Whitney VanZandt, Mary Banks, Jenny Dryer, Kelly Wolff, Jaylan Moore, Heather Hawk, Jake Kassen, and Jacob Humphries. Chorus members are Allison Sinclair, Roxanne Wilson, Marissa Haynes, Kim Burton, Andrea Rydell and Jacob Humphries.