As virtually the only serious opera of Donizetti to survive the advent of Verdi and the later Verismo school of Puccini et al, 'Lucia di Lammermoor' was also the most adapted to fit the prevailing notions of style. The late Maria Callas led the rediscovery of Donizetti's skill as a dramatic composer, and her performances of the opera under Serafin and Karajan are very special.
Since Callas, there have been attempts to restore the opera to something like its original form. Charles Mackerras follows Donizetti's original autograph score and offers a reading of the opera in keeping with what is known of performance practice in Donizetti's time. The most apparent results are high notes being taken in head voice rather than chest, most obvious in the male principals; the lower option at the end of arias; and a drastically shortened cadenza at the end of the mad scene.
Andrea Rost gives a strong performance of the title role as does Bruce Ford as Edgardo. The lower voices, Anthony Michaels-Moore and Alastair Miles, are particularly fine. An interesting and successful example of scholarship applied to the basic repertoire.