The surplus resulted from record box office takings of A$34.4 million as well as increased government grants, according to an announcement released by the company this week.
This financial success is particularly remarkable in light of the fact that Opera Australia suffered a A$2 million deficit in 2002. In 2005 the surplus stood at A$741,000.
Opera Australia's chairman, Gordon Fell, said in a statement that the surplus is "a significant milestone" and that he is "delighted to record that the company is in an unambiguously strong position."
The company's healthy financial situation has allowed it to created a fund to support new operas and additional touring, with an initial contribution from the company of A$1 million.
According to the Melbourne newspaper The Age, government grants for Opera Australia now total A$19.6 million: with A$15.6 million coming from Canberra, A$886,300 from Victoria state (of which Melbourne is the capital); much of the remainder, more than $A3 million, presumably comes from the New South Wales state government in Sydney, where the company presents longer seasons.
Opera Australia's chief executive, Adrian Collette, told The Age that 305,000 people attended the 225 main-stage performances. In Melbourne, the April-May fall season of four productions attracted 52,331 people, almost 7,000 fewer than in 2005; box office income of nearly A$4 million was down A$220,000 on the previous year. But the November-December spring season of three works drew nearly 35,000 people, an increase of nearly 5,000. The box office take of more than A$3 million was nearly A$700,000 more than in spring 2005.