Children's choirs may not perform in opera houses without a special exemption from laws banning child labor, a West German court has ruled.
Children under 14 are not allowed to work in West Germany unless permission is granted by municipal authorities. The Cologne choir had argued that the children enjoyed singing and thus did not consider their performances to be work.
On Friday, however, the high court of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia ruled that the choir had signed a contract scheduling the children for 96 rehearsals and performances in 89 days in previous opera seasons. "The children are forced to attend, and this could lead to inadmissible stress," it said.