Made in St Petersburg last year, this is, significantly, the first recording of a bel canto opera to come from the Mariinsky since Valery Gergiev began his overhaul of the company's repertoire more than two decades ago. In terms of Lucia di Lammermoor's discography, however, it seems curiously unnecessary. The opera is performed complete, and, as Donizetti intended, a glass harmonica is used for the Mad Scene, rather than the more usual flute. The performance, though, is decent rather than great, and better conducted than sung. Gergiev drives it hard, admirably sustaining an atmosphere of tremendous neurotic tension throughout. In the title role, Natalie Dessay sounds convincingly distraught, but is shrill and vibrato-ridden. Piotr Beczala's Edgardo is stylish and impulsive, if occasionally effortful. As Enrico, Vladislav Sulimsky's vocal elegance comes at the price of a lack of involvement, while Ilya Bannik's Raimondo seems to be on autopilot. It's not a patch on the classic versions with Joan Sutherland , Maria Callas or Beverly Sills as Lucia.