Municipal Theatre (Saigon’s Opera House)

Elegant architecture

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The magnificent domed façade of the Opera House sits at right angles to Dong Khoi, facing down the broad boulevard of Le Loi. It was built in 1897 by Eugene Ferret and is a classic example of French Colonial architecture, in imitation of the Petit Palais in Paris. Similar to the Hotel de Ville round the corner, it is elaborately decorated with inscriptions and reliefs, though some of these were removed in 1943 when it was deemed just too ornate.

It was built for the enjoyment of French residents in Saigon, who went there to watch ballets and operas, though its popularity waned in the 1930s as a wave of dance halls and night clubs opened in the city. From 1955 it became a seat of government, but was reverted to its original use after 1975, and underwent a major restoration in 1998 to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the founding of Saigon.

The theatre can accommodate an audience of 500, and these days is frequently used for performances by the Ho Chi Minh Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera. For information about performances, visit www.hbso.org.vn.

At A Glance

Lam Son Square
Ho Chi Minh

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