Just read through this thread ... initially, I was very sceptical: Kermes as countess - does the world need that? But then I had kinda written her off, as the "ulknudel" she used to be and was not aware she was moving away from that image. So yes, she's surprisingly good to me!
In can kind of relate to that laboratory comment though. To me, the entire performance sounds a bit too controlled, somewhat too even. Musically, it's very good, the orchestra is fine - but somehow I'm missing the real highlights a bit. Maybe that's the price you got to pay for such an even performance though, I don't know. Anyway, I'm certainly intrigued enough that I plan to give it a second spin very soon (only got the recording - on CD - a couple of weeks ago).
As for favourite recordings, I'd go with Kleiber ahead of Giulini and Böhm. But that's only an intermediate result, as I've not really delved into Gardiner (whose "Zauberflöte" and "Così fan tutte" I love very much, so I have high hopes here, too), Jacobs (Gens should be great!) nor Furtwängler ... I have a few other unplayed recordings around where I have smaller hopes (Klemperer, Colin Davis - did Klemp botch this, too? His "Zauberflöte" has so many great moments from the singers, best queen of the night ever - at least next to Wilma Lipp - but what's the use if the piece don't work?), and I'm not too big on Karajan (I've no memories of his recording, though I know for a fact I've listened to it).