Photo: Time for a show?

Saigon Opera House

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A fine example of turn of the century French colonial architecture, the Saigon Opera House, also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, represents the French colonial heart of the city.

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The opera house is the epicentre of Dong Khoi St, formerly Rue Catinat: up the street is Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Central Post Office, down the street is Hotel Majestic and the river. The well-heeled French colonialists loved theatre and naturally, the Theatre de Saigon was opened in 1900, an indulgent 2.5 million Franc project. Opera productions and symphonies were brought in all the way from France for performances.

Classic  street frontage. Photo taken in or around Saigon Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Classic street frontage. Photo: Cindy Fan

It hit a rough patch during World War II and the Japanese occupation of the city when Allied bombing heavily damaged the exterior facade of the building and the theatre suspended operations.

It reopened when the city returned to French hands, however, there were more tumultuous times ahead and it served a variety of functions outside of the scope of theatre, such as a refuge for French citizens after the Geneva Accords (1954), as well as the home of the Lower House of the State of Vietnam. In the 1970s the building once again became a theatre but was seldom used and slowly deteriorated. In honour of the 300th anniversary of the city of Saigon in 1998, the building was renovated into a fine, respectable theatre.

An evening for the fancy pants. Photo taken in or around Saigon Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

An evening for the fancy pants. Photo: Cindy Fan

The theatre continues to be operational and attending a show is the only way to get inside and take a closer look. Of course, it now boasts air-con, modern lighting and sound. Originally constructed with 800 seats, it now comfortably fits 468. The building retains some of its old ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Saigon Opera House
7 Lam Son Square, District 1
Admission: 630,000 dong to 1,470,000 dong

Location map for Saigon Opera House

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