Pat Nixon in China

Carolann Page sings Pat in Nixon in China, Houston Grand Opera, 1984.

Those were the days. When all we had to worry about was Richard Nixon.

We didn’t know how good we had it.

I can’t wait until June rolls around and I get to see San Francisco Opera’s revival of Nixon in China, music by John Adams sounding like Philip Glass, libretto by Alice Goodman. I love sitting in the gods, attention split between distant stage and unnervingly close close-circuit close-ups, enhancing my appreciation for singers’ dramatic talents, with a side of singing lesson.

The above video, generously offered on youtube, features stunning soprano Carolann Page, someone with lovely technique I’ve never heard of, too chubby for Pat, but who isn’t?

This is my second Pat sighting today. I was just reading in New York magazine how Ann Beattie published a book about Pat, about Beattie’s inability to fathom, or her repugnance at the mystery that was Pat.

This says more about my reading habits than it does about Beattie, just asĀ Mrs. Nixon says more about Beattie’s writing process than about Pat, since the squib was in the November 28, 2011 issue, said issue still lying around on my coffee table. In my defense, let me say that sometime in October the post office decided my subscription was undeliverable without telling me, so it wasn’t until I was visiting a friend I’d given a subscription to that I realized I hadn’t seen my New York in weeks. I subscribe to too many mags, ergo, hadn’t missed it until I missed it. My friend kindly bundled up her old copies and brought them over one day, since New York declined to mail my sorely missed now-back issues to me, although it did extend my subscription. As for the post office? They discovered my subscription is deliverable, after all.

And how does all this tie in with my having recently discovered the movie It’s Pat (1994) featuring brilliant Julia Sweeney as America’s favorite androgyne?

Pat is in the air.


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