Content to start

Honorary Fellow

Dame Josephine BARSTOW

2000 Honorary Fellow


Josephine Clare Barstow was born in Sheffield, England.  She graduated from the Birmingham University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours and received training at the London Opera Centre, making her debut with Opera for All in 1964.  She has performed with all the major British opera Companies, including world premieres of The Knot Garden and The Ice Break by Sir Michael Tippett and We Come to the River by Hans Werner Henze at the Royal Opera at Covent Garden.  She has also sung in all the important opera houses in the United States (including the Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric, San Francisco and Houston), France, Germany (including Bayreuth and Munich), Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Russia (including the Moscow Bolshoi), South America and Africa.  She has won international acclaim as a singing actress of the first rank and her distinguished career has encompassed an extensive range of roles from the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Verdi, Janacek, Puccini, Richard Strauss, Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten.  In 1986, she created the role of the protagonist in Die Schwarze Maske by Kryastof Penderecki at the Salzburg Festival, where she was invited by Herbert von Karajan to return for performances of Tosca and Un Ballo in Maschera which she also recorded.  Her other recordings include two recitals, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Street Scene, Kiss Me Kate, Britten’s Gloriana and Albert Herring.  During the 1990s, she appeared in three major Hong Kong Arts Festival opera productions as the principal lead in Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Puccini’s Tosca and Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera.  The numerous awards and honours that have been bestowed upon her include the Critic Prize of Berliner Zeitung, the Best Debut award from Buenos Aires, an honorary doctorate of music from Birmingham University, CBE in 1985, and the Fidelio Medal.  She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1995.