You know how sometimes when you ask people what sort of music they like, they'll say something like, "oh, I like everything, except for rap and opera?" This is almost always a lie, and one of the fun things to do when someone tells you that particular lie is to play a form of music that they probably will not like, despite the fact that it is neither rap nor opera.
(As an aside, I think that the reason why those two genres are chosen is because they are music for poor people and rich people, and there is a sort of instinctive cringe on the part of those who firmly identify as middle class as being seen as belonging to either group. There's also the race thing, though I'm not sure that opera is linked to any particular race, with the possible exception of Italians and portly German ladies wearing horned helmets.)
(As another aside, it seems to me that the version of Les Miserables currently in theaters is an opera, rather than a musical. A lot of the singing is things like, "what will you have for diiiiiiiiiiner?" "I think I'll have some fiiiiiiiiish," where if it was a musical, they'd talk those parts, and maybe have a big song and dance number about halibut.)
(As an aside to that aside, seeing it without the soothing digressions about the sewers and the Battle of Waterloo and so on really brought home to me how the story is what I call a Pittsburgh plot—if the protagonist would just move to Pittsburgh, it would solve all of his problems, and there's no particular reason why he isn't moving to Pittsburgh. Beyond to have problems. Javert's legal authority doesn't extend beyond France, dummy. Just move to Belgium! Or America! They didn't have any laws limiting immigration back then or anything in America.)
But I am going to all the sides. The main point that I was trying to make is that if you did not grow up enjoying chazzanut, you probably will not like it. And in fairness to the anti-rap-and-opera crowd, while it's properly speaking Jewish liturgical music, a good deal of the early 20th century chazzanut recording artists were influenced by opera.
Well, actually that isn't my main main point. But I shall be getting to my main point any minute now.
(Actually, it's entirely appropriate that I'm wandering in this fashion; chazzanut is an art form particularly beloved of older Jewish folks, as is this sort of easily side-tracked narrative. My mother is, to my ear, particularly inclined towards this form of story-telling. And she has relatives who she will just lose patience with after a while, and try to get them to find a point somewhere. You can imagine the fun I have listening to those relatives.)
(In this case, I'm less sarcastic than I might appear. I genuinely do enjoy listening to rambling old people stories. That's why whenever I go to worldcon, I go to the "rambling old people stories" panel. It's usually got a title with something about timebinding, or first fandom, or whatever. My favorite was the time one of the panelists fell asleep during the panel.)
The thing is, as with Tuvan throat singing, or polka, or competitive yodeling, or with most other niche musical genres, while aficionados enjoy it a great deal, even kindly minded non-aficionados tend to get a little . . . stressed, when exposed to it for prolonged periods. Here, have an example. It's a playlist with some of the big names from the 20th century (though no Rosenblatt) and some of the more contemporary big names.
If you're like most people I know, one or two tracks would be sufficient for, "well, that's interesting, I suppose," and three or four would be, "now it is time for something else."
Although, honestly, if you like it, great, and if not, also great. The problem is that it's the sort of music that my father likes, and it is not the sort of music that my mother likes. In the past, my father would listen to his music on the record player in the living room, and my mother would absent herself. However, the living room was always a bit too centrally located, and also the record player died.
So I've been looking into online alternatives. There's youtube, of course, but there are a few problems with that—first off, there are ads, and then there's the copyright issue. Which is to say, most of the stuff on youtube is stuff people have put up without necessarily being the "rights holders" and that watching those videos might count as "committing felonies" which is the sort of thing that might cause you to be "arrested." This being internet o'clock, nobody really cares about that, but my parents are not yet entirely on internet time.
Next up is the Florida Atlantic University's Judaica Archives. Apparently, a university located in Boca Raton has decided to build an archive of things that elderly Jewish like. In addition to this being brilliant, the archive is large, if not entirely comprehensive. And it seems to be entirely legal, and it has things that are less aggressively chazzanut; something like Gerer Melave Malka Melodies is a bit more accessible than bits from the high holy days liturgy. And there's also stuff that's entirely not chazzanut—children's music, Al Jolson and Jascha Heifetz, Yiddish musicals and so on. But yeah; reasonably large collection, reasonably accessible.
However, it's streaming, and there are apparently some sort of network connection issues with the network at my parents where if one of the computers is streaming it uses all the available bandwidth, so if my dad is listening online, my sister can't tweet. And thus chaos ensues.
If you want to download music legally, there's archive.org, but they've got a very limited amount of chazzanut, which leaves spending money, like in olden times. Amazon goes without saying, and there's the Lowell Milken Music Archives, is making modern recordings of American Jewish music of various sorts, including some chazanut.
. . . that went a bit longer than I had expected. To summarize: Jean Valjean should have moved to Belgium, this one time someone fell asleep while on a panel, watching videos on Youtube is probably illegal, my parents' home network has some sort of connection problems, and you probably won't much enjoy listening to Jewish liturgical music.