London shul to host visiting Jewish choir from St Petersburg
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London shul to host visiting Jewish choir from St Petersburg

Belsize Square Synagogue to bring over Russian singers of the Eva Jewish Youth Choir who will sing together with London’s Zemel Choir

EVA Choir dressed in White Jackets, will sing with the Zemel choir
EVA Choir dressed in White Jackets, will sing with the Zemel choir

Belsize Square Synagogue has said it will host a visiting Jewish choir from St Petersburg later this month, three years after the first efforts to bring them over.

The upcoming concert on Sunday 24 June will feature the enigmatic Russian city’s Eva Jewish Youth Choir singing together with London’s Zemel Choir, “to celebrate their love of Jewish music and Jewish culture”.

The two choirs first met at the Third European Jewish Choral Festival in Rome in 2014, then again for the 2017 festival in St Petersburg, where they performed at the grand concert hall of the St Petersburg Music Academy and in the new Mariinsky Concert Hall.

Zemel Choir chair Diane Sheer said: “We had hoped to bring them to London for the 2015 European Jewish Choral Festival, and are delighted that they are finally able to join us.”

She said the Russian choir as being “top quality, full of enthusiasm, with an extremely broad repertoire which showcases all types of music”.

Zemel Choir will sing with the Eva choir from Saint Petersburg

Elena Rabinovich, the Eva Jewish Youth Choir’s artistic director who will conduct together with Zemel’s musical director Benjamin Wolf, described the trip as “a dream come true” and “an opportunity to perform together with our English friends in the world’s most beautiful city”.

Wolf said the joint Russian-British concert had symbolic significance, since many singers still remembered the suppression of Judaism under the Soviet Union and the escape of many Russian Jews to Israel.

“When I was a young singer, I remember people in my synagogue being involved in projects to help Jews in the Soviet Union,” said Wolf. “The fact that we can now sing alongside young Jews from Russia is astonishing. It should be a truly special concert.”

The St Petersburg choir has now posted a kooky fundraising YouTube video to help raise money for the trip to London, with choir members singing over scenes including Abbey Road.

Photo with Purple Scarves- Zemel Choir

Photo with White Jackets- EVA Choir

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