Disclaimer: I never read what the director says is supposed to be going on in the production. I like it to unfold while I am watching and listening. I want to allow for the possibility of surprise. I assume that whatever I am seeing is what is intended for me to see. If I have to read things to understand the production, something is wrong. The purpose of the production is to explain the opera to me. I consider it the director's responsibility to communicate to me what the production means by putting the meaning in the production.
Now that it's over, I have read a lot of commentary about what was supposed to be going on in Faust. Perhaps they were confused and I was not because they read the director's explanation.
I want to know what in the visual elements of this production would have led one to believe this was another Doctor Atomic, and that he sold his soul, not for a young woman as seems so obvious, but for the atomic bomb? I read that that's what this production was supposed to mean. I do not read what besides the fact that they all wore lab coats would have meant that? I insist that if you can't see it, easily and clearly see it, it isn't there.
I don't memorize leitmotivs or tone rows either.