Located in the French Quarter, the Hanoi Opera House is an attraction in itself. Try to see a show here so you can experience the whole building in all its grandeur. The beautiful Hanoi Opera House was built by the French in the colonial time, same as the Saigon Opera House.
History of the Opera House
The opera house was built in ten years from 1901 to 1911 with inspiration from the Palais Garnier, Paris’s most famous opera house. The Hanoi Opera House is the largest theater in Vietnam and is the historical and cultural proof of Vietnam under French rule. Inside is even more impressive than the outside; it is even said to look even better than the Opera House in Paris.
In the French colonial era, it was mainly French colonial officials and their wives who visited the opera house. It was a monument of European culture and not for the Vietnamese. For most of the French era, artists performing at the Opera House were almost exclusively European, but in the 1940s Vietnamese could hire ‘the Western Theater’ to hold special performances and concerts, especially to raise money for charitable causes like flood victims.
After the revolution in 1945, the Hanoi Opera House changed from a entertainment venue for the French colonial elites, to an important place of historical events, including the first session of the National Assembly of the Republic. The building fell into disrepair in the years that followed. In 1997, the Hanoi Opera House was renovated and updated, including the installation of modern equipment and the renewal of some interior decorations.
These improvements brought the opera house back to its former glory, where international artists, like violinist Hilary Hahn and pianist Wolfgang Glemser, have taken the stage alongside local talent. Vietnamese artist perform songs, drama, dance, classical music, and contemporary performances from superstars such as singer My Linh. The Hanoi Opera House provides an excellent setting to see a live show. The stage is three meters high and there are three levels in total, so no matter where you are seated, you will have a wonderful experience.
Visit a show in Hanoi Opera House
Today you can enjoy yourself in this architectural landmark with a range of events including local Vietnamese opera, traditional folk music, ballets and many international concerts. You can also buy tickets to see the inside of the opera house although a concert is recommended.
- Neatly dressed.
- Not for children under 6 years old
- Do not smoke; do not bring food and chewing gum to the opera house
- Do not use equipment to record audio / video / film without the permission of the management.
- Switch the phone to silent mode or vibration mode when the performances start.
- The theater closes its doors 15 minutes after the opening of the performance.
- Be quiet while watching the performance.
- Right in front of the opera house is a busy road. If you want to take a photo without much traffic, it is best to come here very early in the morning.
- In the evening, the Hanoi Opera House is beautifully lit up
- From the Hilton Opera House hotel you have a great view of the Hanoi Opera House
- If you are just visiting the Opera House from the outside, it is best to combine it with some nearby attractions (read below).
Other attractions in the area
The Hanoi Opera House is located just 600 meters from the southern part of Hoan Kiem Lake and 1,5 kilometer from the north most point, directly in Hanoi Old Quarter. This means you can start from the old city and walk down the lake, past Ngoc Son temple. Less than 1 km from the Opera House is the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, one of the better museums in Hanoi. This museum is a tribute to the women in Vietnam, where you can see the different clothes and lifestyles of the ethnic minority tribes and how the life was for women during colonial times and the war.