The Minnesota Opera survived a tough financial climate to finish its budget year in the black.

Strong ticket sales and fund-raising support allowed the Minneapolis-based organization to balance the books for the seventh year in a row, on a budget of about $10 million.

The opera, which presents its work at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, played to 92.5 percent capacity, up from 87 percent in 2008 and 81.3 percent the previous year.

Kevin Smith, president and CEO, said the opera hit its target of $3.4 million for its annual fund in 2009, with increases in corporate, foundation and government giving.

The Opera produced five shows the past season, including "The Adventures of Pinocchio," which kicked off the organization's Opera Works program, designed to get new work on stage. The seven-year initiative, announced last fall, has raised $4 million of its $7 million goal. "Pinocchio" also garnered favorable reviews.

Minnesota Opera is the 15th-largest opera company in the United States. It stages five productions each season.