27 September 1940|
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
|Alma mater||University of Birmingham|
(m. 1964; div. 1967)
Education and early career
Josephine Barstow was born in Sheffield and educated at the University of Birmingham. She made her professional debut (Mimì in La bohème) with the touring company Opera for All in 1964. She won a scholarship to study during 1965-66 at the London Opera Centre, where she met her husband Ande Anderson (d. 1996). During the following season, she sang Gluck's Euridice and Verdi's Violetta for the Sadler's Wells Opera Company and in 1968 she began a three-year contract with Welsh National Opera. In 1969 she made her Royal Opera debut as one of the nieces in Peter Grimes
Among other roles with the Royal Opera, she has sung Alice Ford (Falstaff), Santuzza (Cavalleria rusticana), Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Leonore (Fidelio) and the Old Countess (The Queen of Spades). She also appeared in the world premières of two operas by Sir Michael Tippett: The Knot Garden (as Denise) and The Ice Break (as Gayle).
At Glyndebourne, she has appeared as Lady Macbeth, Elettra (Idomeneo) and Leonore. Roles with English National Opera include an acclaimed Violetta, Emilia Marty (The Makropulos Case), Natasha in the British stage première of War and Peace and the title roles in Salome, Aida, Arabella, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Der Rosenkavalier. Rehearsals for Salome and an interview with Barstow were featured in a December 1975 episode of the BBC television programme Arena.
Among other engagements outside the British Isles, she has appeared at the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Vienna State Opera and the Bayreuth Festival. Latterly, she has performed a number of roles with Opera North, including Alice Ford, Lady Macbeth, Kostelnicka in Jenůfa, Marie in Wozzeck, Lady Billows in Albert Herring and in the title roles of Gloriana, Médée and Aida.
On 22 March 1986 Barstow reprised her role as Salome, this time at the Seattle Opera House, performing the Dance of the Seven Veils. She danced a choreography by Mark Morris, wearing a costume designed by Sarah Nash Gates, involving the literal removal of seven veils. At the end of the number Barstow was wearing only a G-string.
In October 2011 she appeared as the Countess in The Queen of Spades, also with Opera North.
- Albert Herring (conductor Steuart Bedford), 1996, Naxos
- Un ballo in maschera (conductor Herbert von Karajan), 1989, DG
- Gloriana (conductor Charles Mackerras), 1993, Decca
- The Knot Garden (conductor Colin Davis), 1974, Philips
- Kiss Me, Kate (conductor John McGlinn), EMI
- Oliver! (conductor John Owen Edwards), JAY Records
- Street Scene (conductor John Mauceri), 1991, Decca
- Opera Finales (Salome, Médée, The Makropulos Affair, Turandot) (conductor John Mauceri), 1990, Decca
- Un ballo in maschera (conductor Sir Georg Solti), 2005, TDK
- Gloriana (conductor Paul Daniel), 2000, Opus Arte
- Idomeneo (conductor John Pritchard), 1974, Arthaus Musik
- Macbeth (conductor John Pritchard), 1972, Arthaus Musik
- Owen Wingrave (conductor Kent Nagano), 2001, Arthaus Musik
- Roles and discography at the Wayback Machine (archived October 28, 2009)
- Interview with Josephine Barstow, October 30, 1981