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Barry Lee Busse


1946 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Barry Lee Busse Obituary
Barry Lee Busse
August 18, 1946-May 15, 2017
Barry Busse of Carrollton, Ohio, was born in Mechanicsburg, Pa. He was a world-renowned tenor with a career that spanned 30 years. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College, a Master's of Music degree in voice from Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and a subsequent Master's degree in education from Walsh University. Having started as a baritone, he received a very early George London Award and made the switch to tenor during which time he performed at Radio City Music Hall as the tenor soloist, Santa Claus, and the tap dancing Easter Bunny. He sang the roles of Don Jose in CARMEN, Des Grieux in MANON LESCAUT, Cavaradossi in TOSCA, Canio in I PAGLIACCI, Boris and Tichon in KATYA KABANOVA, Siegmund in DIE WALKÜRIE, the title role in PARSIFAL, Narraboth and Herod in SALOME, and many more. As comfortable in modern and contemporary repertoire, Mr. Busse originated the title role in David Lang's NOSFERATU as well as the Foreman in Lang's MODERN PAINTERS, Louis Sullivan in Daron Hagen's SHINING BROW, the Shoe Salesman in Argento's POSTCARD FROM MOROCCO, and several roles in Sousa's TRANSFORMATIONS, and Alwa in the American premiere of the three-act version of Berg's LULU. Opera companies with whom he performed include the Paris Opera de la Bastille, the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam, Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy, Grand Teatre de Geneve in Geneva, Switzerland, Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Italy, opera de Toulouse in Toulouse, France, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and many more.
Known for his exceptional acting, Mr. Busse was also seen in musical theater roles such as the Beadle in the first opera house production of SWEENEY TODD with the Houston Grand Opera, SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM, Bounine in Wright and Forrest's THE ANASTASIA AFFAIRE, Watty Watkins in LADY BE GOOD!, and four roles in Charles Ludlum's hilarious THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP as a guest artist at Kent State University's Stark County Campus.
Locally, Barry Busse was a choir member and frequent soloist with St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Massillon, Ohio, sang for an AIDS benefit at the Palace Theatre, and with the Carrol County Community Chorus. He also volunteered as an acting coach with Carrollton High School and GlenOak High School. Perhaps most importantly, he volunteered many hours with the Timken High School Magnet School for the Arts, a highly productive program developed to help rescue at-risk fifteen year olds. Finally, Barry Busse was co-founder of the Ohio Opera Theatre, a non-profit opera company. Although short-lived, OOT produced one important work by composer Daron Hagen, LIGHT SEEKING LIGHT, a cantata for tenor, orchestra, and children's chorus.
In recent years, he was a much beloved voice teacher in northeastern Ohio where he had built a home in Carrollton. He was also an award winning choral director for Sandy Valley High School. He co-owned and was the principal chef of the Quintessential Epicurean, a private chef service. He also wrote educational software for children. During his graduate studies, Barry Busse was a master cabinet maker, during which time he built and installed a massive, temperature controlled violin case for the legendary Isaac Stern in Mr. Stern's apartment in New York City.
Sadly, Mr. Busse has no immediate, surviving family but he is loved and remembered by his surrogate family, Nancy and George Cazan of Carrollton, and by countless friends, colleagues, and admirers worldwide.
A celebration of Barry Busse's life will take place on May 30th at 3 p.m. at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, 226 Third St. SE, Massillon, 44646. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Barry's name to the Carroll County Animal Protection League for completion of their no-kill shelter.
Published in The Repository on May 28, 2017
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