Thanks for making that point, Hans, It seems to me that this is often lost during discussions of the ballet orchestra topic.
Final thought: Musique dansante is just not the same as concert music, and that doesn't necessarily make it bad. I wouldn't want to listen to "Giselle" without the dancing, but it is perfect for the choreography and action. Music that is illustrating a plot doesn't have to sound like a choir of angels or be a deep study in complexity (the dancing is why we're there, after all) and if one recognizes that such music fulfills the purpose for which it is written and should therefore not be compared to more pretentious music, it does not seem unharmonious (pardon the pun).
Your remarks also reinforce the idea that someone attending a ballet "utilizes" -- or "processes," or whatever else you want to call it -- music differently from they way he or she would do at an opera or the symphony or for chamber music. An awful lot of us are dedicated to ALL FORms of classical musical performance. Frankly, I don't know many people who JUST go to the ballet, which seems to be what the reviewer is suggesting.
I think also that you have to allow for differences among ballet companies -- the number of performances, the breadth of musical repertoire, etc..
For companies like ABT during its spring season in NYC city and on most of its its tours, playing Corsaire, Don Quixote, and even the more interesting Giselle and Coppelia, on a regular basis can't be very interesting. Even the standard Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev ballet scores must get tedious after a long season.
At the other end of the spectrum, many smaller companies who've managed to hold on to "live music" must find that the pickp-up orchestras or community symphonies they can afford can't really be expected to master every item in a program with equal skill, especially for relatively short runs with limited rehearsal periods. Contemporary rep -- which often uses music specifically composed for the recording studio -- is another variation, usually requiring the use of tape.