Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, who has been actively recruiting directors from the theater world, brought Mr. McAnuff into the “Faust” project. Tuesday’s performance was conducted by the impressively gifted Yannick Nézet-Séguin and starred the charismatic tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the title role.
The production, though rich with ideas and theatrically daring, is finally rather clinical and oppressive. Mr. McAnuff intriguingly updates the story to the period between the world wars. Faust, usually presented as an old philosopher who feels he has wasted his life with fruitless scholarship, is here a middle-aged scientist, first seen wearing a sensible three-piece brown suit. Faust works in a big laboratory where the atomic bomb is under development.