Scene Last Night: Nixons Meet Operatic Kin at ‘Nixon’ Opening

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Tricia Nixon Cox, center, backstage with the singers who play her parents in the opera, baritone James Maddalena and soprano Janis Kelly.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Tricia Nixon Cox, center, backstage with the singers who play her parents in the opera, baritone James Maddalena and soprano Janis Kelly. Close

Tricia Nixon Cox, center, backstage with the singers who play her parents in the opera, baritone James Maddalena and... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Christopher Nixon Cox, Andrea Catsimatidis, Tricia Nixon Cox and Ed Cox. Close

Christopher Nixon Cox, Andrea Catsimatidis, Tricia Nixon Cox and Ed Cox.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Peter Sellars moments before his directorial debut at the Met. Close

Peter Sellars moments before his directorial debut at the Met.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

John Adams, composer of "Nixon in China," accepts applause at the curtain call for his conducting debut. Close

John Adams, composer of "Nixon in China," accepts applause at the curtain call for his conducting debut.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Isabella Rossellini, Mark Morris, and Isaac Mizrahi. Close

Isabella Rossellini, Mark Morris, and Isaac Mizrahi.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Robert Brubaker, in character as Mao Tse-tung, greets a visitor backstage. Close

Robert Brubaker, in character as Mao Tse-tung, greets a visitor backstage.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Eva Ching, architect, Harry Lee, a managing director of the Metropolitan Opera, and Kitty Chou, designer. Close

Eva Ching, architect, Harry Lee, a managing director of the Metropolitan Opera, and Kitty Chou, designer.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Ann Ziff, co-chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, and publicist Peter Brown. Close

Ann Ziff, co-chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, and publicist Peter Brown.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Mercedes Bass, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, in Oscar de la Renta. Close

Mercedes Bass, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, in Oscar de la Renta.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jill Kargman, author of "Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut: Essays and Observations," and attorney Jacob Buchdahl at a party for the book at the Chanel boutique. Close

Jill Kargman, author of "Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut: Essays and Observations," and attorney Jacob Buchdahl at a... Read More

Real Nixons met their operatic kin backstage at the Metropolitan Opera last night during the premiere of “Nixon in China.”

The president’s daughter Tricia and her son, Christopher, visited the stage Nixons during the first intermission of John Adams’s epic comedy drama, which was inspired by Richard M. Nixon’s history-changing trip to China one snowy winter in 1972.

“It’s overwhelming to think that 30 or 40 years ago the doors to China weren’t open,” said Christopher Nixon Cox, 31, adding that he goes to Beijing a couple of times a year to raise money from sovereign funds on behalf of his company OC Global Partners LLC.

“To see a country growing up is an exciting thing,” he said.

Tricia Nixon Cox said her parents called her from China on her birthday and brought back two cloisonne vases she still has.

Her husband, Edward Cox, the New York State Republican chairman, said of the birthday call: “We were in Boston at Locke-Ober. The restaurant was surprised when they got a call from the president.”

Edward Cox said Nixon’s yen to visit China dated from his days as a traveling businessman, years before becoming president.

Tricia Cox posed for a photo with her stage parents, James Maddalena and Janis Kelly.

“Let’s lock arms,” she said. “We used to do this in our family.”

The opera, first heard in Houston in 1987, is generally polite to the dead president, though there is some reference to extreme sweating in the last act, which went on so long that one wished to rest in one of the several beds arrayed on the stage for the singers who spend their time dreaming or dying.

The audience, which dwindled over the hours, clapped and cheered when the curtain dropped not long before midnight.

Chanel Party

Also last night: Jill Kargman celebrated her new book of essays, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut,” with a party at the Chanel boutique on 57th Street. Being the daughter of the vice chairman of Chanel Inc., Arie L. Kopelman, she got to wear Chanel: a black-leather dress with laser-cut camellias from the Paris-Shanghai collection, which her husband, Harry Kargman, described as “Coco meets Trent Reznor.”

“It’s going back tomorrow,” said Jill. “No one wants to see a 36-year-old in a tight dress.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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