Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon Opera House, which is also known as Saigon Municipal Theater, is one of the most worth-visiting attractions in this city. Together with Saigon Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Opera House is considered a typical example of French Colonial architecture in Vietnam.
7 Cong Truong Lam Son, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
There is no actual opening time or entrance fee for Saigon Opera House as it is only opened when there are performances or events taking place. All you need to do is to buy a ticket for any show you prefer. The price could vary depending on the type of show, the seat and the time you buy it.
People who go to the opera house often dress up, especially on special occasions, but you can also wear your smart casual clothes as well.
Located in the center of Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon Opera House is more than 1 km from Ben Thanh Market. It would take you about 10 minutes to get there on foot.
Saigon Opera House was built in 1898 and first inaugurated in 1900 for the purpose of becoming an entertainment center for the elite. However, the Saigon Opera House gradually lost its customers due to the appearance of nightclubs, music bars, and dance halls. In 1944, the opera house was bombarded by Allies’ planes, causing severe damage and leading to the shutdown of Saigon Opera House. In 1955, the opera house was renovated and used as the Congress House (later called the House of Representatives) of the Republic of Vietnam.
After 1975, Saigon Opera House was restored to its original function which was performing arts. In 1998, the city authority provided a large renovation to preserve the original French architectural style of the opera house.
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The architecture of the Saigon Opera House is quite unique. The opera house was designed by a group of French architects including Félix Olivier, Eugène Ferret and Ernest Guichard in the Gothic style which was prevalent in France in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
One of the outstanding architectural features of this opera house is the sculpture, which can be seen in both the exterior and interior of the building. All the inscriptions, sculptures and furnishings were designed in the same model of many opera houses in France in the late 19th century by a famous French artist at that time.
The style of Saigon Opera House generally follows the flamboyant style of the French 3rd Republic. Anyone who has been to France can easily recognize that the architecture of the facade of this opera house is greatly influenced by the style of Petit Palais, an art museum built in France in the same year as the Saigon Opera House.
Inside, the opera house has a central seating area on the orchestra level and two levels of seating above. This house can accommodate around 1,800 people. Additionally, Saigon Opera House is equipped with modern electrical equipment, lighting, and sound systems.
In 2008, Lyon City (France) authority provided the financial aid to Saigon Opera House to install the light system. At night, you can see the opera house is light up with colorful light, attracting young people coming here to hang out, taking photos, and enjoy the boba milk tea.
In front of the Saigon Opera House, there used to be a small park with fountains, but since the Ho Chi Minh City Metro project started in 2008, this green park has been removed, fenced and covered by large panels. The city authority will rebuild or relocate the Lam Son Park in the future after the metro project is completed.
Besides orchestra concerts, the opera house often hosts many other performing arts, ranging from contemporary dance, ballet to traditional folk music shows. Some current popular shows at Saigon Opera House include A O Show, Teh Dar, and The Mist. The information on performances and events at Saigon Opera House can be found on the website Lune Production, and Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera or at the box office next to the opera house, which is open daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. To buy a ticket, you can book at the websites above or go directly to their box office.
Owning specific characteristics of French Colonial architecture while performing culture-relating shows, Saigon Opera House is a great combination of history and culture in Ho Chi Minh City.
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