Veteran Chazan Neil Shestopal is mad about opera: so much so that he has created a website devoted to the art.
Operalovers.net targets those who share a passion for opera. It features podcasts, interviews and discussions, in addition to performances and production information. “I was surprised, but there is nothing else like it on the web,” Mr Shestopal, 63, tells People.
The Chazan at Ealing Synagogue, he says he developed a passion for opera in his teens. “I used to sing my favourite arias as I walked home from school across Ealing Common. Ever since, I’ve been listening to opera, going to the opera, and singing along with opera in my car.”
His public performances, however, have been confined to the bimah. He has led congregations across the UK, in addition to Paris, Cannes and Netanya. He says: “Jews have always formed a large proportion of opera audiences.”
He is married to Judge Dawn Freedman, former chair of the Jewish Marriage Council.