Berlioz's Faust is an odd, episodic opera - really poor structurally, but with wonderful music. The Met brought in Robert Lepage to design the production and he made the opera work. It was full of wows - well, at least we presume they were wows, as Sweete did all she could to destroy the effects Lepage worked so hard to produce.
Lepage made great use of ropes (with harnesses hidden under clothing). At one point a row of soldiers march up the gridwork on stage, mime dying, and are lowered into the laps of women below, only to revive, march up the wall again, and repeat. It was a moving and jaw-dropping effect - I think. We mostly saw close-ups.
Sweete and the rest of the videography team over-use close-ups. Singers tend to sweat, and a giant screen filled with a close-up of their face is not always a pleasant image. There is also much too much camera movement, zooming in, panning, pulling back, changing cameras. It is all very distracting, and very little of it is effective. It's as if Sweete is trying to compete with Lepage in artiness... but the videography should aim to enhance the production, not compete with it.
We are now in the third season of the Metropolitan Opera's Met HD series. I don't recall the first season having these video problems. In particular, I recall thinking during Il Trittico that the film experience was like hovering above the fifth row - better than the best seat in the house. That's what the transmission director should aim for.
The experience of opera is about a state of concentration that opera makes possible. The orchestration, singing, plot, iconography, set, costumes, lighting and personalities all hit the senses of the audience is a way that is unique to opera. To achieve the optimum concentration, I like to attend operas in an unstressed, well-rested frame of mind; I don't drink alchohol beforehand; and I eat a light, low-carb meal followed by an espresso. When fully engaged I can attain that wonderful state, even in cinema transmissions... But not when filtered through distracting faux-arty video direction.