Dame Josephine Barstow is acknowledged as a singing actress of the first rank. Her distinguished career has included acclaimed performances of Salome. Tosca, the Lady Macbeths of Verdi and Shostakovich and an enormous range of rôles from Mozart to Janáček, including leading rôles in the operas of Benjamin Britten, in particular those of Queen Elizabeth in Gloriana and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes. In 1986 she toured the former Soviet Union singing in Tbilisi, Riga and at the Bolshoi in Moscow. She created the protagonist in the world première of Die schwarze Maske at the Salzburg Festival where Karajan invited her back for Tosca and Un ballo in maschera, which she also recorded with him. She has sung with the Paris Opéra, the Bavarian State Opera, Munich, the English National Opera and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She has also sung for all the major American opera companies, including the Metropolitan, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston. She was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1985 and in the same year was presented with the Fidelio, Medal on behalf of the International Opera Directors Association, only the sixth such medal to be given. In 1995 she was created a Dame of the British Empire.