Besides Hanoi Opera House, Saigon Opera House (Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theater) is one of two theatres in Vietnam that you can enjoy classical music and opera shows. If you have any opportunities to travel to Ho Chi Minh City (Hồ Chí Minh), you should drop by this venue and admire the excellent architectural and stunning performances of opera. Located at 7 Lam Son (Lâm Sơn) Square, at the intersection of Dong Khoi (Đồng Khởi) and Le Loi (Lê Lợi) Street, District 1, Saigon Opera House is alluring both domestic and foreign tourists. A visit to the Saigon Opera House will be a memorable experience for you.
Historical Values Of Saigon Opera House
Built in 1897, the Saigon Opera House’s construction involved the effort and skillful hands of the group of French architects including Eugène Ferret who designed the fantastic Sanremo Casino located on the Italian Riviera. Other architects are Félix Olivier and Ernest Guichard. The Saigon Opera House or the Municipal Theater was initially used to entertain the Saigon’s burgeoning middle and upper class in French Colonial times.
In the early 1940s, many fancy adornments of the building were removed to make the theater not too fancy. During the intense war of the allied aerial against the Japanese Imperial Army, many parts of this municipal theater were damaged. Fortunately, many features related architectural values remained such as the durable, beautiful granite tiled floors, the stone verandah, the white stone statues, bronze statues, chandeliers, wall statues, and so on.
However, entertainment is not the only purpose of the Municipal Theater during history. After the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the French used the theater as a shelter, where French citizens emigrated from the north.
By 1956, the South Vietnamese Government used the building as the Lower House of Assembly. After 1975, the theater came back with the purpose of entertainment. In 1995, the building underwent restoration.
In 1998, on the occasion of Ho Chi Minh’s 300th birthday celebration, the government launched the restoration project with the participation of artists and architects. After the renovation, the theater now features sound, lighting, and safety equipment. In 2005, the theater had a group of exterior lights that allow audiences to catch some fantastic night shots.
Architectural Values Of Saigon Opera House
Located in the heart of the city, the Opera House is near the metro station and many famous attractions. So, the Saigon Opera House is seen as a beautiful gigantic gate of the city.
Visiting Saigon Opera House, you can feel astonished at the elegant architectural style of the French Third French Republic.
The building has remarkable architecture and sculpture with impressive decoration. In the interior and exterior of the theater, there are many relief and statues arranged in a harmonious way. Every pattern and furnishing of the building are created and decorated by experienced and skillful French artists. The cartouches, rails of stars and ceiling came from France. When you enter the entrance, your eyes can not be kept out of the stone-carved ornaments and impressive statues that are in harmony with the shiny granite floor of the lobby. All the materials with high quality were imported from France.
The outstanding feature of this building is that it is constructed over two meters higher than the street and built with two layers of the door to prevent traffic noise and give the audience a satisfying experience.
There are about 500 seats in the oval auditorium area of Saigon Opera House that give you the perfect view. It is also equipped with the counter-echo system; therefore, inside the theater, you can listen to all the best sound.
What Can You Enjoy In The Saigon Opera House
The theater is now used as a venue where you can enjoy many cultural and entertainment activities here.
A visit to Saigon Opera House is an excellent idea for someone who likes to explore the national culture and art of Vietnam because a variety of traditional and humanistic performances take place here. It is a chance for you to listen and watch different kinds of shows such as concerts, plays, operas, ballets, and Vietnamese traditional dances.
The most famous show you should not forget to watch is the A O Show that has the traditional Vietnamese dance, music and Cirque du Soleil.
Besides, the Mist Dance Show and My Village Show also are the worth-see shows in Saigon Opera House. Each shows features thrills and chills with great entertainment that allures expatriates, locals, and tourists.
The Saigon Opera House opens to the public only in special events and festivals; therefore, it has no actual entrance fee. The price for opera and art performances in the theater varies based on the occasion, seat, and time.
You can purchase the tickets in the venue, book it online or even find some travel agencies in the city.
Where You Can Eat Near Saigon Opera House
After enjoying the opera shows at Saigon Opera House, you can eat delicious meals at the restaurants nearby, including:
- Buffet Nineteen – 19 Lam Son Square, District 1
- Reflections Restaurant – 19-23 Lam Son Square, 3rd floor, District 1
- Nha Hang Hoang Long (Nhà Hàng Hoàng Long) – Lam Son Square, District 1
- Duong’s Restaurant Saigon & Cooking Class – 27 Dong Du (Đông Du), Ben Nghe (Bến Nghé) Ward, District 1
Where You Can Stay Near Saigon Opera House
Ho Chi Minh City has a variety of hotels and homestay. Near Saigon Opera House, here are the ideal recommendations:
- Red Hotel – 141 Nguyen Hue (Nguyễn Huệ), District 1
- Huong Sen Hotel: 66 – 68- 70 Dong Khoi Street, District 1
- Hotel Continental Saigon: 132 -134 Dong Khoi Street, District 1
- Park Hyatt Saigon: 2 Lam Son Square, District 1
Saigon Opera House features the impressive architecture, sculpture, and shows, which makes the theater become a destination worth visiting in Ho Chi Minh City. I hope that you can find useful information in this article. Any questions can be left in the comment section, and we will answer them as soon as we can. If you like this article and want to know more about Vietnam’s tourism, take a look at Vina.com.
By Nga Vu