Saigon Opera House: An Architectural Marvel of Vietnam
The Opera House was originally opened in 1897 and served as a gathering place for the French colonial aristocracy. It was designed by Eugene Ferret, a French architect, in the neoclassical style, with a façade decorated with ornamental reliefs and statues of goddesses and muses, and a domed roof. Its insides are no less impressive, with a grand staircase, frescoes, Minton tiles, chandeliers, and balconies that provide a breathtaking view of the stage. The entire structure was constructed with imported materials France, such as iron pillars, steel frames, and Italian marble floors.
Throughout its history, The Saigon Opera House has undergone several significant changes. During the Japanese Occupation, it was converted a cinema, and during the Vietnam War, it was used as the National Assembly. It was only in 1975 when it was restored and returned to its original purpose as a theater for art and culture. Even today, the Saigon Opera House stands as a symbol of the city's cultural pride and a legacy of the French colonial past.
The Opera House hosts various performances like ballets, orchestral performances, operas, and plays. You can catch performances of Ho Chi Minh City ballet and symphony orchestra, ancient Vietnamese art performances, contemporary dance performances, and international art exhibitions at this magnificent place. One of the most famous contemporary shows at The Opera House is AO Show, a theatrical acrobatic performance that reflects the daily life of Vietnamese villagers and their struggles.
The Opera House also has a few secrets. During the Vietnam War, a secret underground tunnel built by the French was discovered beneath the theater. The tunnel was used by the Vietnamese insurgents to send messages and supplies to the guerrilla fighters and evacuate the wounded. It is now a popular tourist attraction and can be visited during the daytime tours.
The Saigon Opera House is a stunning cultural landmark that stands as a testament to Vietnam’s turbulent history, French colonial past, and artistic achievements. It offers a glimpse the country's rich cultural heritage, including music, dance, architecture, and art. A visit to the Saigon Opera House is a must for those who want to explore a unique side of Ho Chi Minh City and experience the art and culture that this city has to offer. its architectural marvels to the secret tunnels beneath, The Opera House has something for everyone.