The Saigon Opera House is one of three theaters built by the French Colonialists. In 2012, the government classed the Saigon Opera House a National Relic, the highest honor for old Vietnamese structures. The most recent renovation took place between 1996 and 1998, costing $1.7 million.
The reopening in 1998 also marked the 300th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. If you’re planning to explore other architectural landmarks like the Central Post Office or Notre-Dame Basilica, you have to add Saigon Opera House to your list. The Ben Thanh Market is a short walk from the opera house if you want to do some shopping before or after your visit.
A Brief History
Construction of the Saigon Opera House was completed in 1898, most of which using materials imported from France. The first performance featuring French actors took place in January 1900, and it wasn’t until 1918 that the Saigon Opera House staged its first Vietnamese Opera.
In 1955 Saigon Opera House became Southern Vietnam’s National Assembly House. For 20 years, the venue was only used for government purposes and didn’t host any arts. In 1975, Saigon Opera House returned to its former glory and is now officially known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City. However, many still refer to the building by its original name.
What to Expect
The Saigon Opera House features beautiful stone-carved statues and finishings throughout the building. The impressive 468-seater auditorium with a small gallery provides excellent, echo-free acoustics giving audiences an immersive theatrical experience. You can often catch performances from the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet and Symphony Orchestra at Saigon Opera House.
Local productions from Lune Production featuring the famous Vietnamese Bamboo Circus are extremely popular with locals and tourists. The Saigon Opera House website is rarely up-to-date, so it’s best to email firstname.lastname@example.org for what’s showing and bookings.
Address: 07 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: +84 28 3829 9976, +84 28 38 237 419, +84 98 987 4517
Facebook: facebook.com/HBSOVN (More up-to-date information)