Classical Iconoclast says the Paris production of Nixon in China is both meaningful and beautiful. I suggest the recent San Francisco version was neither (although still vivid and engaging):
Chen Shi-zheng's production gets to the soul of the opera. No silly reproductions of newspaper photos, instead a set as stylized as the interaction between the two sets of politicans. They are playing a kind of psychological chess, sizing each other up in a formal game of greetings and entertainments.
Sellars steered well clear of meaning by focussing on decor. For Chen, meaning is the whole purpose. The set is simple, but exquisitely beautiful.