Music: A Silent Choir

Ending a 480-year tradition

The holiday season will not be quite as joyful as usual in Vienna this year. For the first time in living memory, the voices of the city's world-renowned Choir Boys will not be heard in the Hofburg chapel this Christmas. Seven Masses, traditionally sung by the Sängerknaben, have been canceled; so has the State Opera's year-end performance of Puccini's Tosca. The reason: a 30-year-old federal law forbidding children under 14 to work for pay. The law was designed to prevent mine operators and the like from exploiting youngsters. But...

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