saigon opera house
Source: wikipedia

The Saigon Opera House, otherwise known as The Municipal Theatre, stands as one of the most impressive sights in Ho Chi Minh City. Located at the intersection of Le Loi and Dong Khoi Street in District 1, this building is an elegant colonial architecture, which is very close to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and the classic Central Post Office. On a building area of nearly 3,200 m2, the theater was constructed with facade architecture as well as motifs similar to the Petit Palais museum in Paris. Innovative interior design with full audio and lighting equipment. The oval auditorium with 468 seats offers the good view from every seat. It is also echo-free and therefore preserves all the sound inside the theatre. In addition to the ground floor, there are two other floors with a total of 1800 seats.

The Saigon Opera House is considered to be a versatile theater that specializes in theatrical performance and is also used to host a number of major events.

Location: located on in Lam Son Revenue, Dong Khoi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It is about 7,5 kilometers from Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Transportation: car, local bus, motorbike, taxi, bicycle
Travel duration: 30 minutes from Tan Son Nhat International Airport by taxi Square: 3,200 m2
Booking ticket website: www.luneproduction.com


In 1897, Saigon Opera House was designed by the group of French architects include Eugène Ferret, who also was accountable for the amazing Sanremo Casino on the Italian Riviera, with Ernest Guichard and Félix Olivier, as the Saigon Opera House (or Opėra de Saigon). The Municipal Theatre was formally created to entertain Saigon’s burgeoning upper and middle class in French Colonial times

In the early 1940’s, the theatre was believed to be too fancily decorated and managers decided to remove many of the fancier adornments. Parts of Saigon Opera House were also damaged by allied aerial attacks against the Japanese Imperial Army. Fortunately, many of the original architectural features still remained such as the stone verandah, the colorful granite tiled floors, the white stone statues at the entrance, chandeliers, bronze statues in front of the stairs, richly engraved auditorium arch and wall statues.

saigon opera house
Source: silverlandhotels.com

The Municipal Theatre wasn’t always used as an entertainment venue. After the French defeated at The Battle of Dien Bien Phu and the Geneva Accords were reached, the theatre was briefly used as a shelter for French citizens emigrating from the north. By 1956, their entertaining purpose had been faded significantly and it was transformed into the Lower House of Assembly for the South Vietnamese Government.After 1975, the building served its true purpose as a theatre again and was restored one more time in 1995.

In 1998, to praise the Ho Chi Minh City’s 300th birthday celebrations, many famous architects and artists were hired to be a part of the restoration project for the theatre to turn back its former glory. The renovation was very important and the complex now features state-of-the-art lighting, sound and safety equipment. A group of exterior lights were installed in 2005 which means that audiences can get some stunning night shots easily.


architect of saigon opera house
Source: flickr

Famous with its parallel structure, the Opera House is located on the District 1’s center axis, connecting the metro station and a lot of famous destination of the city. From a distance, the Opera House is described as “it looks like a beautiful gigantic city gate”. The theater was designed and built base on the “flamboyant” architectural style of the Third French Republic. The building is typified by skillful location between sculpture and architecture, in which, decorative sculptures are highly remarkable. Even exterior or interior of this building are covered with many statues and reliefs in the harmony way. Furnishings and patterns were created by a French artist and the applied decoration, rails for stairs, cartouches, and ceiling were originally imported from France. The architecture decided to put the stone-carved ornaments and statues at the entrance of the Opera house with a crystal chandelier, and shiny granite floor at the lobby area, all were built with the materials brought from France to Vietnam. It was designed to be built over two meters higher than the street surface with two door layers, for the purpose of preventing traffic noise.

The oval auditorium of Saigon Opera House with nearly 500 seats provides a good view from each seat. It is also counter-echo and therefore maintains all the best sound inside the theatre. All the decorative patterns, sculptures of the façade and the interior of the theater were painted by a famous French artist in the same style as the late 19th century French theaters. The system of arched windows with raised railing was designed in bold classical French architecture


saigon opera house
Source: citypassguide.com

Unless you are present at an act of some sorts, you can’t be allowed to get very far into the building but that never be a problem if you really want to access inside. The Municipal Theatre co-operates many others Opera houses, for that reason, a variety of humanistic and traditional performances are taken place there. Every kind of show like plays, concerts, ballets, operas and Vietnamese traditional dances are occurring usually in Saigon Opera House.

1. A O SHOW at Saigon Opera House, Viet Nam

Director: Mr.Tuan Le
Music director: Mr.Nguyen Nhat Ly
Acting director: Mr.Nguyen Lan Maurice
Choreographer: Mr.Nguyen Tan Loc

The name ‘A O’ starts from ‘Lang Pho’ in Vietnamese, which means ‘village and city’. The show describes the captivating beauty and traditional culture of Vietnamese life in the countryside, in contrast with the busy, noisy and dirty of country`s urban. The show is an exclusive mix of the bamboo cirque, acrobatic acts, contemporary dances and theatrical visual art. The live music will bring audiences the unique melody of Vietnamese Southern work songs. In general, this beautiful blend of categories generates a particular stage of the language, which well catches the element of Vietnam’s fascinating culture.

shows at saigon opera house
Source: dailytoursinvietnam.com

One of the unique points of A O show is that all the props are made from bamboo. Bamboo is a symbol of strength, stability, and resilience of the Vietnamese. Bamboo trees have been attached to Vietnamese life for thousands of years. Vietnamese used bamboo to build fences, build houses, make fishing tools or plow. Bamboo is now used more subtly for decoration or interior. In the show, bamboo represents youth, endurance, frankness, and solidarity. Although bamboo instruments are very popular in life, it is not easy to turn them into props on stage. Writers and actors alike have to spend time exploring creativity, experimentation, performances with bamboo rafts, rowing boats, stringers. After being selected, the props will be machined more firmly, the surface smooth to remove the bamboo without cutting the actor, ensuring durability, beauty, and safety.

Having a bold cultural and much of entertainment, A O Show usually bring audiences from amazement to surprise. Therefore, this show has been having their own European tour frequently since 2015.

A O Show’s key features

  • Vietnam’s contrasting portrait
  • Cirque meets dance
  • A delicate touch of humour
  • 120-year-old opera house

Booking a ticket in here: A O Show

2. TEH DAR at Saigon Opera House, Viet Nam

Director: Mr.Tuan Le
Music director: Mr.Nguyen Nhat Ly
Acting director: Mr.Nguyen Lan Maurice
Choreographer: Mrs.Ngo Thanh Phuong

Teh Dar Show welcomes audiences on an adventure into the charming world of Vietnamese highlanders. Wild animal hunts, moonlight romance, jungle’s tales of death and reincarnation, are all recreated with amazing bamboo cirque, adventurous acrobatics, and anesthetize melody from peculiar tribal instruments. Which have a meaning in the highland tribe K’ho’s language is “going in the circle”, Teh Dar embrace and maintain fascinating and various Vietnamese tribal cultures. Cause the artists continue inspiring, the circle of tribal life keeps going, the cultures shall remain.  

shows at saigon opera house
Source: foxtravels.net

The music in TEH DAR is one of the main factors that make the spirit strong, wild, as well as the feelings of love of the Tay Nguyen highland. Ethnic artists and original instruments of the plateau, such as “tu va”, “goong”, T’rung, gather on the stage of the city theater. Among them, the most distinctive is the percussion of enormous gong orchestra with enchanting sound, witnessed by cultural heritage by UNESCO.

TEH DAR’s key features

  • Exotic Vietnamese tribes culture
  • Tales of the wild highland
  • Enchanting music from tribal instrument
  • 120-year-old opera house