Earlier this year it was fighting for its life when the Arts Council axed its grant - now Birmingham Opera Company has been shortlisted for a national award.
It has been nominated in the Audience Development category of the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, Britain's leading awards for classical music, for its production of La Traviata, staged in October at the National Indoor Arena.
The co-production with Arena di Verona was seen by nearly 10,000 people, up to 68 per cent believed to have been first-time opera-goers paying just £5.
The company is up against the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for the award, presented in association with Classic FM.
Birmingham Opera Company previously won the Audience Development award in 2002 for Votzek, and was short-listed in the Education category for Ulysses and in the opera category for Don Giovanni.
Jean Nicholson, general manager, said: "We are thrilled that people recognise La Traviata was a special event. We are not English National Opera, but we saw an opportunity and we took it and made it work."
After resolving its differences with the Arts Council, the company is now looking for a suitable venue to stage its production of Mozart's Idomeneo in August.
Other West Midlands nominees in the RPS Awards are the Lichfield Festival, in the Concert Series and Festivals category, and George Caird, head of Birmingham Conservatoire, for his multimedia CD Britten: Six Metamorphoses After Ovid. Op.49. Anatomy of a Masterpiece in the Creative Communications category. John Wilson, whose concerts of British light
music have become a popular feature of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's programmes, is included in a strikingly youthful list of contenders for the Conductor award, while James Macmillan's new opera The Sacrifice, staged by Welsh National Opera at the Hippodrome in the autumn, is nominated twice under Opera and Large Scale Composition.
The annual awards, in 13 categories, are decided by independent panels consisting of some of the music industry's most distinguished practitioners, with a further award decided by the listeners of BBC Radio 3.
Graham Sheffield, chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, said: "There is a particularly youthful energy to this year's Royal Philharmonic Society short-lists, with the stars of a new generation of talent recognised alongside outstanding musicians who continue to set the pace after many years in the spotlight.
"I am especially proud to present this list, which, due to the awards' independence, is a valuable reflection of what's really happening in the UK's live classical music scene: it demonstrates the countrywide appeal of classical music, it demonstrates our international appeal for the world's best musicians, but it also shows the wealth of talent that the UK itself is producing and developing.
"Composing talent, performing talent, talent for programming, talent for developing new audiences. If classical music were a competitive Olympic sport (which thank goodness it is not), the UK would surely top the medals table by a mile."
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel, London, on May 15.
A special programme devoted to the RPS Music Awards will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at 7pm on Friday 16 May.