The role of Salome is fiendish. It requires a complete harnessing of one’s vocal capacities and the ability to just be tireless. And that’s all the Strauss I sing, including Elektra and Die Frau ohne Schatten. I don’t know about Arabella and Capriccio or Rosenkavalier because I haven’t sung those roles. I sort of sing the crazy girls and those are the pretty girls.

Lise Lindstrom, Opera Australia, SalomeLise Lindstrom. Photo © Lisa Marie Mazzucco

It’s just relentless. The phrases don’t have a natural ebb and flow. They do, eventually, but even within that you have to be able to breathe quickly and stay supported. You have to stay so active mentally, and you’re another member of the orchestra. It’s very different from singing Wagner, Puccini or Verdi. It’s certainly very different from singing Mozart.

You have to bring everything to these roles. I can tell you honestly that every single time I go onstage for one of those pieces, you just check life at the door, two hours before curtain. Life just goes on hold. It requires at least that, if not the days and months before as well. It just requires everything. All...