Standing magnificently at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City is the Saigon Opera House, which is also known as the Municipal Theater. The building stands as one of the impressive sight in Saigon – both night and day. Although the official name of the building is The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh, people still call it the Saigon Opera House and after the restoration work in 1995, the building is just as it was at the turn of the 19th Century. The major renovation, which cost USD 1.7 million at the time, took 2 years from 1996 to 1998 to finish.
A French architect – Eugene Ferret built the Saigon Opera House on 1898, following the “flamboyant” style of the French Third Republic. It is two meters higher than the street surface with two door layers, in order to prevent traffic noise. Until this day local and tourist still could enjoy not only opera but also a wide range of performing arts including ballet, musical concerts, Vietnamese traditional dance and plays. Certified as a national relic in 2012, this magnificent building stays on top of the must-visit of Ho Chi Minh City.
Built in parallel structure, the Opera House is located on the city’s center axis, connecting the metro station and roundabout in front of Ben Thanh market. From a distance, the Opera House looks like a beautiful gigantic city gate. The exterior has the appearance of polished pearl and makes a great place to photograph – especially at night when bathed in a soft, orange light. The entrance is through a vaulted archway that is kept in immaculate condition; inside, expect swathes of red velvet, classical friezes and hardwood floors.