With its beautiful domes, pillars and balconies, Hanoi Opera House is a cultural and architectural landmark of the city. It was built in 1911 by the French to imitate the opera house in Paris, and can host a 600-member audience. Both Western classics and Vietnamese musicals are performed here by trained artists.
Mainly a monument designed for European culture, this attraction served as a center for theatre and classical music for the French colonial officials and their wives. This historic building has organized several musical performances and also important official conferences, and it continues to do so today.
Architecture of the Hanoi Opera House
Modeled on the Palais Garnier, the oldest opera house of Paris designed by Charles Garnier, the Hanoi Opera House is one of the most popular attractions of Hanoi. With typical Gothic and Mosaic characters reflected on the door, domes and glassed room, the building is influenced by French neo-Baroque architecture. The facade has pillars in Roman order with stone-tiled curved roofs on top and wrought iron balconies overlooking the gorgeous city of Hanoi. The interior, of 24x24 meters with 589 velvet seats, consists of a large stage and a main audience room, with many small rooms for audience on the central floor. The design overwhelms visitors with crystal chandeliers, large wall mirrors and many Corinthian columns. At the back of the Opera House is a management chamber consisting of make up rooms, voice recording rooms and meeting rooms. The theatre is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and appliances for all kinds of performances like piano, ballets, opera, drama, folk music, international concerts and many more.
History of the Hanoi Opera House
Started in 1901 by two designers V.Harley and Broyer, the Hanoi Opera House took 10 years to get completed finally in 1911. The theatre has seen many significant historical events of the August Revolution and Vietnam Democratic Republic. In 1946, the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam had its first meeting under the Opera House roof. In October of the same year, the constitution for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was passed here too. For the 1997 summit of La Francophonie, the building went under restoration in 1995. In the past, the theatre was known to solely host Western artists and some wealthy Vietnamese. Some popular artists who have performed here are Hilary Hahn, cellist Yo-yo Ma, pianist Wolfgang Glemser and conductor Gudni Emilsson. The building was acclaimed as a National Relic on its 100th birthday on December 9th, 2011.
Shows and Schedule at the Hanoi Opera House
The two remarkable classical concerts performed annually at the Hanoi Opera house are Toyota Concert which usually happens during the month of August and Hennessy Classical Concert, both of which are international-scale performances performed by renowned classical artists. Lune Production is one of the biggest and main production house that hosts regular performances at the opera House, almost 15 times a month. The price of show tickets range from VND 100,000 to VND 500,00, with VIP seats costing up to VND 2,000,000.
How to Reach Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House is located in the heart of the city, walking distance from the popular and peaceful Hoan Kiem lake. Most tourists visiting Vietnam will definitely end up staying in the Old Quarter of Hanoi since it's the hub of all attractions, including the Opera House. Incase your hotel is not within walking distance, you can rent a motorbike or call for a Grab bike or car, a popular alternative to Uber in South East Asia, who can take you to the Opera House. Another option is the newly introduced double-decker city bus that drops you off at the Opera House Square. This is a convenient and cheap public transport option, allowing you to admire the city better.
There are various walking tours organized by tour companies or hotel and hostels which include all the major Hanoi attractions, the Opera House being one of them.
Dress Code at the Hanoi Opera House
A good dress code option while visiting the Hanoi Opera House for a performance would be business casual. For men, a denim jeans with a nice shirt would do. For women, elegant dresses or pants with a nice top would be perfect. However, if you're generally visiting the Opera House from outside, you can wear anything from shorts to sleeveless t-shirts because Hanoi has no dress code restrictions as such.
Best Time to Visit Hanoi Opera House
The best time to visit Hanoi in general would be between November to March since the weather is neither too hot nor too wet, it’s pleasant. However, August would be a great month to visit the Hanoi Opera House in particular due to the Toyota Concert tour. Besides that, whenever you plan to visit, do check the show schedule so as to make sure you are able to attend at least one Opera House show.
Tips on Visiting Hanoi Opera House
Research well about particular performances and book tickets for them well in advance online so you don’t miss out on a chance. “My Village” show by the Lune Production house is one of the most popular shows and performed often. Try getting tickets for those.
If you plan to explore on your own, chances are you will end up only seeing the Opera House from outside. There are many tour companies that offer a two hour tour that takes you inside the Opera House, gives you detailed information about the history and gives you plenty time to admire the interior. Although, these could be somewhat expensive.
Earlier popular only among the French and some Vietnamese, today the Hanoi Opera House is renowned all over the world for its glorious history and magnificent performances. Contributing majorly toward the country’s modern cultural field, trying to present the talent of local artists to everyone in the world, this ancient Opera House cannot be missed.