If you have a chance to go to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), you certainly can’t take your eyes off the elegant architecture of the Saigon Opera House. Located at the beginning of the famous Le Loi Avenue, the building still retails many lively pieces of evidence for the influence of French architecture in Vietnam. Its stunning design was certificated as a National in 2012, it has become one of the must-see and most photographed landmarks in Saigon. Today, the theater is a venue for many cultural entertainment activities and high profile events of Ho Chi Minh City.
Design and Construction
At the beginning of the 20th century, this magnificent building, designed by French architect Ferret Eugene, was built as a classical opera house with 800 seats to entertain French colonists. Anyone who has been to France can recognize many similarities between the Opera House and the Petit Palais. In fact, just like the Reunification Palace, the applied ornament, balustrades, cartouches, and tiles were imported directly from France.
Close and repair in the war
Closed during World War II, it was repaired and reopened when the French returned in 1946 but following their final withdrawal from the south under the Geneva Agreement of 1956 the Ngo Dinh Diem regime turned the venue into the headquarters of the Lower House, with the result that considerable changes were made to both the inside and outside structure of the building.
After Independence Day (1975)
After Reunification in 1975, the city authorities approved temporary repairs to the building, returning it to its original function as a theatre. In 1995, 100 years after the commencement of the initial building project, a comprehensive restoration project was approved by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee with completion scheduled in time for the 300th Anniversary celebrations of the founding of Sai Gon in 1998. Many experienced historians and architects were invited to participate in the restoration project. It is now equipped for a wide range of art forms, including singing, music, dance and traditional and modern theatre by both local and foreign artists.
Saigon Opera House in 2020
Nowadays, the Saigon Opera House, lying charmingly in the heart of the city’s District 1 area, becomes a theater for a variety of traditional and classical performances such as plays, concerts, ballet, opera, and Vietnamese traditional dance. Ho Chi Minh City Opera House is run by Saigon Concert, which has its offices at the rear of the building. Moreover, this house – the brightest building of Ho Chi Minh City – is also one of the exciting destinations which no one should miss when visiting this city.
Architecture, exterior and interior
Architecture in French style and Materials from France
Ferret Eugene – a talented French architect designed this fanciful opera house. Constructed in early 1897 to original design by award-winning French architect Eugène Ferret, this beautiful venue hosted performances by many international performing artists throughout the French colonial period. The style of this majestic building is influenced by the flamboyant style of the French Third Republic. People can easily recognize similarities between the façade of this building and the Petit Palais, which was built in the same year in France. All of the applied ornament, balustrades, cartouches and roofs were taken from France. Additionally, all the inscriptions, décor, and furnishings were drawn by a French artist and sent from his nation.
Inside, the house has a main seating floor plus two levels of seating above and is capable of accommodating 1,800 people. In order to celebrate the 300th birthday of Saigon, the municipal government invited some of famous architects and artists to restore the house in 1998. Today, renovated with new materials, the theatre is equipped with state-of-the-art electric appliances, lighting and sound systems, and safety equipment. Many original architectural and decorative features have been incorporated, including a stone veranda, white stone statues at the entrance, colorful granite tiled floors, chandeliers, bronze statues in front of the stairs and richly-engraved auditorium arch and wall statues.
A O Show at Saigon Opera House
What is around Saigon Opera House?
The Opera House is surrounded by new shopping plazas and posh hotels, which allow you to combine the trip to the Opera House with a shopping tour.
If you would like to discover Saigon Opera House please go with us: Saigon sightseeing & local street food is trying to making lantern by yourself and you will have unforgettable memories. Don’t miss it!