(Too bad Dutoit and Montreal had a falling out. They made so many great recordings!)
Ballet: Many people do erroneously believe that ballet is somehow effeminate, or "gay". This is our stupid, chauvinistic American ignorance showing. Ballet music is among the most entertaining, enjoyable, and even exciting musical forms available. You don't have to think deeply about it -- just enjoy the magic. If you like solid orchestral music, there are several ballets that no music lover should be without. Here are some of my favorites, all in glorious, rich sound:
1) Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty on London with Bonynge. Still the one to beat. It was this ballet that caught my ear when I was 8-yo and got me hooked on classical.
2) Tchaikovsky Swan Lake on London with Bonynge. But if the Fistoulari ever comes around on cd, that choice changes.
3) Prokofieff: Romeo and Juliet. What a fabulous score! Maazel on London or Previn on EMI. Take your choice. Maazel more laser-like, Previn more dance-like.
4) Stravinsky: The Firebird. As much as I love the old Dorati, in terms of sound, Nagano on Virgin is superb, as is Dutoit on London.
5) Khachaturian: Gayane. On RCA with Tjeknavorian.
6) Same composer: Spartacus. One of the very, very few works written in the last 50 years that has made it into the standard rep. There is, sadly, no really great and complete version on cd, although there are many fine suites (Muti, for one). The best of the completes is the Jurowski on Capriccio for now.
7) Glazunov: Raymonda. Naxos will do.
8) Ravel: Daphis and Chloe. Dutoit and Montreal, who else?
9) Shostakovich: The Golden Age on Chandos.
10) de Falla: The Three-Cornered Hat
To avoid "gayness" in ballet, just stay away from the French composers. Especially Delibes. And the German composer Bayer. And the Russian Minkus.