This intimate ballet may be freely described as a late nineteenth century adaptation of the classical legend in which Paris chooses Venus as the most beautiful of the three goddesses; Juno, Venus, and Minerva. A golden apple is her prize.
The ballet’s satiric little tale has to do with a Waiter, a Customer and some Ladies. The Customer, served by the Waiter, is also served, but in a different fashion, by the Ladies; for, as he toasts the fair ones, with the assistance of the waiter, they rifle his pockets of his wallet and his watch and fob.
The music is that of Kurt Weill, a contemporary expatriate German composer born in 1900, who had a marked influence on the younger contemporary composers. Weill experimented with jazz and popular music, but is probably best known for his Dreigroschenoper (a modern adaptation of The Beggar’s Opera), written in distinctive modern idiom; the work from which the score derives.
Last performed by American Ballet Theatre in 1958, Judgment of
Paris received its Ballet Theatre Company Premiere at The Center
Theatre, New York on January 23, 1940, danced by Viola Essen (Juno),
Agnes de Mille (Venus), Lucia Chase (Minerva), Antony Tudor (Client)
and Hugh Laing (Waiter). Judgment of Paris received its World Premiere
by the London Ballet at the Westminster Theatre, London in June 1938,
danced by Therese Langfield, Agnes de Mille, Charlotte Bidmead, Antony
Tudor and Hugh Laing.
World Premiere: London Ballet, Westminster Theatre, London, 6/38*