One of the few places in Hanoi to catch a symphony, this century-old French colonial building is a major city landmark. While the interior could use some sprucing up, this imposing Opera House is still on the list of top things to see in Hanoi, given its architectural beauty, historical significance and repertoire of internationally celebrated musicians.
Completed in 1911 after 10 years of work, in its heyday this popular Hanoi attraction served as a center for high-end entertainment, theater and classical music. Frequented by French colonial officials and their wives and largely unvisited by the Vietnamese, the Hanoi Opera House was a monument of European culture. For most of the French era, artists who performed at the Opera House were almost exclusively European, but in the 1940s Vietnamese could rent what they called ‘the Western theatre’ to hold special performances and concerts, especially to raise money for charitable causes such as victims of floods.
As an important historical monument and testament to the arts in Vietnam, since the end of French colonial rule the Hanoi Opera House has housed both musical masterpieces and important official conferences in its halls. In May 1946 the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam held its first meeting under the Opera House’s roof, and the constitution for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was passed here in October of the same year. In 1995 this beautiful old building was restored in preparation for the 1997 summit of La Francophonie.
Today the grand old lady functions as a high-end venue for the the best of local and international performers, and as a popular tourist attraction and photo spot both for travellers and newlywed Vietnamese. Take in a performance and be transported to a bygone era when the works of Offenbach, Bizet and Berlioz were performed, mainly by enthusiastic amateurs, to the delight of Frenchmen and women a long way from home. The Hanoi Opera House Schedule and tickets are available at www.ticketvn.com.