I haven't used any of these other clients lately but Evolution works pretty well with huge mailboxes. I have IMAP folders in excess of 100,000 messages and, aside from the initial downloading of the headers, it's surprisingly fast. During the slow operation of downloading headers Evolution does provide status messages, as well.
I've found Evolution can open an IMAP folder much more quickly than mutt can open the same maildir. I don't know if it's evolution that's much better than mutt, or if the efficiency is due to Courier IMAP. Either way it's plenty fast.
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