San Diego Opera Gala

The San Diego Opera's Gala, "A Night To Dream" was held on June 4th at an outdoor setting on the grounds of the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. A festive gathering of attendees enjoyed cocktail refreshments and hors d'oeuvres at the reception, followed by a sit-down dinner paired with wines and a robust performance by members of the Opera and guest performer Reginald Smith Jr.  The evening's live auction presented guests with a wide assortment of treasured opportunities, all of which were bid upon with high interest, lending support for the Opera and its continued growth within our community.


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.

Reginald Smith, Jr. made a memorable San Diego Opera debut in February 2022 as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, with critics lauding his “smooth,” “powerful,” and “rich” baritone voice. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, he has appeared with opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. Reginald made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Jim in Porgy and Bess in 2019. He is a Grand Finals winner of the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and was chosen to represent the United States in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 Competition.

Each year, San Diego Opera identifies honorees who exhibit leadership, positively affect people’s lives, and demonstrate a deep commitment to fulfilling our mission - to deliver exceptional vocal performances and exciting, accessible programs to diverse audiences, focusing on community engagement and the transformative power of live performance. We are profoundly grateful for the generosity and dedication of Sherry and Kevin Ahern. 

With a lifelong love of poetry, arts and music, Sherry and Kevin have been champions of San Diego Opera for over ten years. As dedicated philanthropists and respected leaders, they have invested their time into giving back to the community they love. As Chairman and CEO of the company he founded, Ahern Agribusiness, Inc., Kevin envisioned new possibilities for the cross-border relationship of San Diego County and Mexico, with special focus on accelerating the growth of agri-business. While serving on the SDO Board of Directors, Kevin played an important role in influencing many of the Hispanic initiatives that have created a lasting change in our community. By forming unique partnerships, Kevin propelled SDO’s commitment to accessing diverse audiences and providing a lasting cultural service.I

n addition to her support of SD Opera, Sherry is an advocate for many organizations in San Diego, graciously giving her time and talents to raise financial support and awareness. Twenty three years ago Sherry successfully founded the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market that takes place every Sunday. All monies are donated to La Jolla Elementary School. 

And fourteen years ago she founded The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival that takes place every October. All monies are donated to the five public schools. 

Sherry is involved with and has been the recipient of The Women of Dedication award as well as women of the year for City of Hope, volunteer of the year for the La Jolla Kiwanis, Town Council Hometown Heroes and Volunteer of the year 2021 for Diabetes Research Connection to name a few. 

Sherry and Kevin have stood by San Diego Opera every step of the way, especially during the two years when our stages fell silent. We thank Sherry and Kevin for their unmatched service and generosity.

Photography by Bryan Dahl