Standing magnificently at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City is Saigon Opera House, also known as the Municipal Theatre. Just a few blocks away from the Notre Dame Cathedral and Ho Chi Minh’s People committee, on the busy intersection of Dong Khoi and Le Loi, the building stands as one of the impressive sight in Saigon night and day.
At the turn 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 Saigon Opera House and the Petit Palais (a famous art museum in Paris). After 1956, the house functioned as home of the Lower House Assembly of Southern Vietnam. It’s not until 1975 that Saigon opera house was restored to its original purpose of use. The Municipal Theatre was closed during World War II and reopened in 1955 – after the Geneva Convention (1954), and became the Southern Vietnam’s Assembly House. After 1975, the building underwent many functional changes and refurbishment, especially the major renovation, which cost USD 1,7 million at the time, and took 2 years from 1996 to 1998.
The style of this majestic building of Saigon Opera House is influenced by flamboyant style of the French Third Republic. People can easily recognize similarities between the facade of this building and the Petit Palais (a famous art museum in Paris) , which was built in the same year in France. Inside, the house has a main seating floor plus two levels of seating above, and is capable of accommodating 1,800 people. All of applied ornament, balustrades, and roof were taken from France. Additionally, all the inscriptions, decor, and furnishings were drawn by a French artist and sent from his nation.
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. Saigon Opera House is surrounded by new shopping plazas and posh hotels, which allow you to combine the trip to the Municipal Theatre with a shopping tour. Nowadays, it is used as a host for many high profile events as well as cultural and entertainment activities of the city. Considered as national relic, Saigon Opera House only opened to public during events and shows. Hence, while staying in Ho Chi Minh City, it is worthwhile to check for show schedule, grab a ticket and come early to discover this magnificent building.
Saigon Opera House shows and performances. Looking for a show or performance, scheduled time and buy ticket at Saigon Opera House, visit here