Annual event celebrates community around art and science

It has long been known that the scientific and the creative are often happy housemates in the brain. This month, San Diego Opera is again celebrating that connection with “Life Sciences Night” to welcome members of the buzzing local biotech scene to enjoy some opera and nurture connections with the arts community.

Like other efforts by various organizations to reach out to tech, education and other sectors, these single-focus evenings can be a boon for engagement and reach expansion. The experience can also be valuable for organizational leaders, as the event serves as an extra-fun focus group where you can try things out and see how it goes with a specific group of people as well as the financial, government and other related communities that work with them. This particular event occurs around a performance of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and it seems a good time will be had by all. Congrats, SDO!

See the press release below:

San Diego Opera’s

Life Sciences Night at the Opera

Celebrating Local Life Sciences Industry Leaders for a Night of Opera and Networking

Roméo et Juliette – Tuesday, March 29, 2022
5:45 PM Pre-Opera Networking Reception
7:30 PM Performance

San Diego, CA – San Diego Opera is proud to celebrate the local biotech tech industry withLife Sciences Night at the Opera, an evening of opera and networking with top executives from the local life sciences industry. Life Sciences Night at the Opera event is co-chaired by Joe Panetta, President and CEO Biocom California, the largest regional life science association in the world, and Sara Zaknoen M.D., SD Opera Board Member, and President Zed Strategic Consulting.

Honorary members also include:  Jennifer Giottonini Cayer, Board Chair, UCSD Cancer Center; Leo Divinsky, Managing Director, Stockdale Capital Partners LLC; Stephen Ferruolo, JD, Ph.D., Partner, Perkin Coie LLP; Karl Hostetler, Professor of Medicine Emeritus, UCSD School of Medicine; Robert H. Kaplan, Ph.D., Associate Program Director, Leadership of Healthcare Organizations, School of Medicine, UCSD; James Mackay, Ph.D., CEO, Aristea Therapeutics; Sabrina Martucci Johnson, President & CEO, Dare’ Biosciences; Magda Marquet, Ph.D., Co-Founder & Co-CEO, ALMA Life Sciences LLC; James Merritt, M.D., Chief Medical Officer,  CBR International Corp; Roger G. Mills, M.D., Principal,Vincere Consulting LLC,; Bernard Parker, Managing Partner, Caligen Bio; Timothy Scott, CEO, TEGA Therapeutics; Mary L. Walshok, Ph. D., Associate Vice Chancellor, Public Programs, UC San Diego; Janet White, M.A., M.B.A.

Life Sciences Night at the Opera will take place on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 for a performance of Gounod’s beautiful adaption of Shakespeare’s beloved masterpiece, Roméo et Juliette with a world-class cast staring tenor PENE PATI in his signature role of Roméo and soprano KRISTINA MKHITARAYAN as Juliette under the baton of San Diego Opera’s Principal Conductor YVES ABEL. Performances of Roméo et Juliette are made possible by Lead Production Sponsor Darlene Marcos Shiley.

The exclusive event will begin at 5:30 PM with a pre-opera reception at The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter with hors d’oeuvres, wine and high-level networking with leaders of the local life sciences industry and comments from keynote speaker, Erica Ollmann Saphire, President and CEO of the La Lolla Institute for Immunology. Afterwards, participants will make their way to the Civic Theatre for a 7:30 PM performance of Roméo et Juliette. Networking will continue during intermission in the exclusive dessert lounge.

“Opera is greater than sum of its parts, combining the transformative and expressive power of the human voice with the grandeur of the symphony, infused with the drama of theatre and the gorgeous visuals of sets and costumes to create a singularly unique experience,” shares Life Sciences co-chair and San Diego Opera Board Member Sara Zaknoen. “The same can be said about the world of life sciences research, where a wide range of exceptionally talented individuals, from Nobel Laureates to financiers, come together for a meeting of the minds.  Their results are also greater than the sum of their parts – they can literally change the world with their results.”

Advance reservations are required. For more information or to purchase a package, please visit or contact Erin Oleno at (619) 533-7020 or, Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm.

If you are a San Diego Opera subscriber or already have tickets to another date of Roméo et Juliette, please contact Erin for exchanges and ticket assistance.

San Diego Opera 2021-2022 Season

Stephanie Blythe in Concert — Saturday, October 23, 2021

Michelle Bradley in Concert — Saturday, November 20, 2021/Sunday, November 21, 2021

Arturo Chacón-Cruz in Concert — Friday, December 3, 2021

Così fan tutte , by Wolfgang Amadeus MozartFebruary 12, 15, 18, and 20(m), 2022

Roméo et Juliette, by Charles Gounod — March 26, 29, April 1 and 3(m), 2022

Aging Magician, by Paola Prestini — May 13 and 14 (evening / mat), 2022


The mission of San Diego Opera is to deliver exceptional performances and exciting, accessible programs to diverse audiences, focusing on community partnerships, and the transformative and expressive power of the human voice.


San Diego Opera will be recognized globally as a leading example of adaptability, innovation and sustainability, promoting diversity on stage, in our repertoire, and in our staff and leadership, with a commitment to world-class and emerging talent, and innovative use of technology.


  • Through excellence in innovative programming and education and a commitment to equity, San Diego Opera provides a lasting cultural service to our diverse community.
  • Our tradition of exceptional productions of grand opera is augmented with new expressions of opera in diverse settings.
  • Our deep commitment to our community propels us to embrace inclusivity, accessibility and affordability.
  • Through fiscal responsibility and nimble adaptation to changing environments, we ensure the future of San Diego

Opera for our community.

Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

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