Frustrating news -- after several seasons performing the mid-career Apollo (birth scene and stairs) as staged by Francia Russell, Pacific Northwest Ballet is going to do the later version with no birth and no stairs (and so no ending on the stairs). I know, I know -- it was his ballet to change if he wanted to -- but I really love the older version.
He also cut some great music. Farrell said in her book she was sufficiently surprised by that to remark on it to him - "You don't usually cut music like that." "No, I don't," he replied. End of discussion. ("Shut up, he explained.")
It's not as if Balanchine never did violence to music, although messing around with "Apollo" is a uniquely criminal offense as far as I'm concerned. He lopped off the first movement of Mendelssohn's "Scotch Symphony," reordered the movements in Tchaikovsky's "Serenade," and cheerfully mixed and matched bits of Vivaldi and Corelli for "Square Dance." He plumped up the score for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with extracts from other of Mendelssohn's works. (Although in fairness, I think that only "String Symphony No 9" is actually truncated.) He eventually got around to setting all of Tchaikovsky's "Suite No. 3" but until 1970 only used the "Theme and Variations" movement. Etc etc etc. And don't get me started on the concoction of Bellini's greatest hits that he used for the score for "La Sonnambula."
The reordered movements in "Serenade" really bug me; I understand that Balanchine needed the "Elegie's" death and transfiguration music at the end to tie up the drama, but the "Finale" (the "Tema Russo") is so clearly a FINALE
(with recapitulated themes and everything) that to my ears at least it sounds ludicrous to hear it in the middle of the ballet.
I like the birth scene and the apotheosis on the stairs too.