Right, dance music in Verdi's French (or revised-for-Paris) operas is a familiar concept; it's finding it in Italian operas that's unusual.

Otello has actually been recorded at least twice with the Paris ballet included (oddly, as none of the other Paris alterations were made). It makes for an odd interruption before the Act III finale. Even odder, the novelAria, which concerns the making of a recording of Otello in Rome, acts as if the ballet music were a standard and essential part of all recordings of the piece. And it's written by a former record executive, who ought to know better. But it's a dreadful book in so many ways, I suppose one more isn't surprising.

I don't dislike ballet, but it doesn't do much for me. NYCB used to come to Ravinia in the summer, so I saw the full-length Jewels when some of its original dancers were in it, I saw Villella in Dances at a Gathering, and so on. Another time, I saw Fonteyn and Nureyev in Swan Lake. I guess I'm glad to have been present for now-classic performances, but I probably can't really tell the difference. I was always more interested in the music. When I saw the Stuttgart Ballet do Romeo and Juliet, I was thrilled, only to be told the next day how bad all the choreography was. I had barely noticed -- for me, it was about Prokofiev's wonderful music, and the action was the familiar story synchronized with it, so what's not to like?

[This message has been edited by Jon (edited 05-08-2010).]