Let’s hear it for dictators … they’re not all bad
Just ask the people of Cincinnati what they think about dictators: after all, they named their city after one.
He was Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who was elected as a Dictator of the early Roman Republic, an honourable office in those days designed to give one man absolute power in times of crisis. Old Lucius fought off the threat, and was held up as the supreme example of a democratic leader because he instantly gave up power and went back to farming when it was all over.
Another famous dictator is the subject of one of Buxton International Festival’s operas this year.
Lucius Papirius Cursor inspired Caladara’s opera Lucio Papirio Dittatore. He was a Roman general who was five times consul and twice dictator. The Cursor bit was nothing to do with computers: it means The Runner, as he could walk 50 miles a day in full armour – and expected his men to be able to do the same.
Dictators also expect to be able to tell people what to do – dictating looms large in the job description – and the opera tells the story of how Lucius turned the Roman state against him by ordering the execution of one of his own generals for disobeying orders. Cue high drama and some great music on 9, 13 & 18 July with baroque specialists La Serenissima.