Something in the last post has been ringing a bell, and I've finally realized what it is: it's the bad novel. I'm pretty sure it's one I read, eons ago. Is the Otello a young black tenor who many feel doesn't have the seasoning to sing the role? Something about his "Esultate!" -- it either reassures the doubters or confirms their fears, probably the former. Only two other things I remember from the book. One is the album cover. Black Otello and white Desdemona, stripped to the waist, with their arms around each other. His face and her back on one side of the cover, her face and his back on the other. That's an image that stays with you. The other thing is the record executive in the story makes a stab at healthy eating, like fish for lunch instead of steak. Odd thing to remember.
Jon, are you sure Aria is the right title? Amazon doesn't know it and Google can't find it.