MILAN — The Verona Arena open-air opera festival says it closed the summer season with a 6-percent increase in ticket sales as new management focused on bringing in big singing talent as part of a relaunch.

The festival said Thursday that ticket sales for 47 performances of five operas and two special events reached 24 million euros ($28 million), from 22.6 million euros in 2017.

General manager Cecilia Gasdia, the first singer to run an Italian opera house, said the results were the best in the last five years, even with fewer shows. She added sales for 2019 have already reached 12,000 tickets, with headliners including soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Placido Domingo.

The opera festival nearly closed two seasons ago under a mountain of debt.