The Gardiner on Archive, with period instruments, is also an excellent interpretation but it is recorded live, with noticeable audience noises and the recording perspective shifts. However, given these caveats, I would consider it a tie second place on recording quality alone and a much better interpretation than Mackerras. HarnoncourtÂs on Teldec is curiously recessed and distant. Since he uses a large orchestra this results in what I would call unacceptable sound.
The best performance, of what is arguably the greatest opera ever written, is in my opinion, Erich KleiberÂs 1955 recording on Decca/London recently remastered on the Decca LegendÂs series.