At a time when many arts groups are reporting deficits, the Minnesota Opera has ended in the black for the ninth consecutive year.

The company broke even on its $10.2 million budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, officials said at the annual meeting Thursday afternoon.

With the growth in its annual budget, up from $9.4 million last year, the organization is now classed in the dozen-member first tier of major American opera companies.

The Minnesota Opera had a record $2.7 million in ticket sales, playing to 92.4 percent of capacity -- just a hair above the 92.3 percent it sold in the previous year.

"This was just a great year, and it's because of the sophisticated, well-educated arts lovers we have in the Twin Cities," said artistic director Dale Johnson. "We don't have to do only familiar titles. It was also great in terms of the art. The singers, especially the sopranos, and the designers were just exquisite. It's a high-water mark."

Popular titles in the 2011-2012 mainstage season, presented at St. Paul's Ordway Center, included Mozart's "Così fan tutte," Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" and Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor."

Additionally, the company produced the lesser-known Massenet opera "Werther," and sold out eight performances of Susan Kander's "The Giver" at its smaller space in Minneapolis. "The Giver" is a youth opera based on Lois Lowry's Newbery Medal-winning novel.

The good news on its balance sheet was complemented by national acclaim.

Composer Kevin Puts' first opera, "Silent Night," a Minnesota Opera commission, had its sold-out premiere in November 2011. It went on to win the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for music.

And things continue to move apace at the organization. In January, the opera appointed maestro Michael Christie as music director.

Rohan Preston • 612-673-4390