Goethe's Faust was one of the primary inspirations for the Romantic. Berlioz was so taken with it that he composed music for it when he was only 15. The large work La damnation de Faust is not really an opera. He liked to imagine visions and set them to music without really bothering to worry about dramatic continuity.
The Metropolitan Opera is staging works extremely well. The stage is filled with a large four story grid where the singers, dancers and chorus work, including some dancers suspended on wires from above, with computer generated projections behind and in front. Faust's library is a projection quickly replaced by flocks of birds swirling in the background. I felt the episodic nature of the visuals completely suited the episodic nature of the work. Bravo.
I have not heard this work enough times to form an opinion of how it should be sung. The singers were Susan Graham, who introduced her own opera, Marcello Giordani as Faust and John Relyea as Mephistopheles. In my imagination Berlioz is melodramatic for a Frenchman, such as his melodramatic choral works: Requiem and Te Deum. I was relatively unprepared for the intensely lyrical performance presented here. Susan Graham is very fine in French repertoire precisely because her lyrical voice and style suit the lyrical French so perfectly.
I was much happier with Marcello Giordani as a partner for Susan than I was last week when he sang with Karita. He was fully up to the lyricism established for Faust. Even Relyea met the challenge of lyricism while looking very evil in his red leather outfit.
This must all be James Levine's idea. People in the movie theater, not many, only clapped for him.