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Paris opera sacking 'illegal'

PARIS (AFP) - A Paris court yesterday barred the Paris Opera from sacking its musical director, the South Korean conductor Myung Whun Chung. The court ruled that the opera's management did not have the right to appoint another musical director for the rehearsals or the performances of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, which opens the 1994-1995 season at the Bastille opera house in the French capital.

Francoise Ramoff, the court's deputy president, decided that the opera management had no legal right to terminate Mr Chung's contract, which does not expire until August 2000. She said that the opera's attempt to dismiss Mr Chung summarily on 12 August was 'manifestly illegal'. Mr Chung, 41, the brother of the violinist Kyung Wha Chung, was sacked by the opera's new general director Hugues Gall after refusing to renegotiate his contract, which dates from December 1992. The opera is reportedly operating with a 70m franc ( pounds 8.7m) deficit.