He was born Aug. 18, 1946, in Mechanicsburg, PA.
He was a world-renowned tenor with a career that spanned 30 years. He received his bachelor’s degree in Music from Oberlin College, a master’s degree in Voice from Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and subsequent master’s degrees in Education from Ashland College and 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 Kabonova,” Siegmund in “Die Walkurie,” the title role in “Parsifal,” Narraboth and Herod in “Salome” and many more. As comfortable in modern and contemporary repertoire, he 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 other 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, Barry 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 was a choir member and frequent soloist with St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Massillon, OH, sang for an AIDS benefit at the Palace Theatre and with Carroll 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 15-year olds. Finally, he was co-founder of the Ohio Opera Theatre (OOT), 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 wrote educational software for children. He was also a master cabinet maker and during his graduate studies he built and installed a massive, temperature controlled violin case for the legendary Isaac Stern in his apartment in New York City.
Sadly, Barry 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 memorial service is scheduled for May 30 at 3 p.m. in St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Massillon, with George Baum officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Carroll County Animal Protection League, which Barry was an active and much loved member.