Hanoi Opera House

The Hanoi Opera House (Vietnamese: Nhà hát lớn Hà Nội, French: Opéra de Hanoï) is an opera house in central Hanoi, Vietnam. It was erected by the French colonial administration between 1901 and 1911. It was modeled on the Palais Garnier, the older of Paris’s two opera houses, and is considered to be one of the architectural landmarks of Hanoi.


The opera house is described in the memoirs of Blanche Arral who performed in the new Hanoi Opera House in 1902 while waiting for the 1902 Exposition of Hanoi to open.

The Hanoi Opera House provides the name for the nearby Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel which opened in 1999 and which, for historical reasons associated with the Vietnam war, was not named the Hanoi Hilton

The Saigon Opera House is a smaller structure built around the same time.

Hanoi Opera House is the landmark in the French Quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam. It is located on Le Thanh Tong street, with Trang Tien in front of it, a short distance from the Sofitel Metropole Hotel. This is where high-brow performances are staged to bejewelled audiences.

How to go to Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House has its front facing Le Thanh Tong Street. If you are coming from Ho Hoan Kiem, the Lake of the Returned Sword, the most straightforward way is through Trang Tien Street, at the south side of the lake.

North face of the Hanoi Opera House, as seen from Trang Tien Street.

The impressive façade of Hanoi Opera House facing Trang Tien Street.

Hanoi Opera House as seen from Le Thanh Tong Street.

Another shot showing the north face Hanoi Opera House.

Features of Hanoi Opera House

–   Hanoi Opera House is situated near the Red River and several hundreds meters east of Hoan Kiem Lake.
–   Since its establishment, the Hanoi Opera House is the largest theatre in Vietnam. Its construction started in 1901 and was completed in 1911.
–   Previously the site was a big pond, adjacent to the city gate of Tay Long of the ancient Thang Long capital.
–   It is an old theatre with distinctive French architecture and typical Gothic and Mosaic characters evident on the door domes and the glassed room.
–   Hanoi Opera House features the same architectural style as the Opera House in Paris.
–   Some foreign architects are of the opinion that as it was built nearly 300 years after the Paris Opera House, Hanoi Opera House avoids superfluous architectural details which make it more elegant.
–   For a long time, the Hanoi Opera House has been the most favorite haunting place for those who love theatrical performance, traditional songs, music, symphonies, opera and classical opera.
–   In 1997, the theatre was renovated under the skillful management of two Vietnamese French architects, Ho Thieu Tri and Hoang Phuc Sinh.
–   The original 3-storey architecture remains while the ornamental patterns on the ceiling, arches, walls and doors were renewed.
–   The 3-meter-high stage and the audience’s hall, with 600 seats, were also modernized keeping in mind international standards.
–   The interior is designed in such a way to meet high requirements, artistically as well as technically to stage refined qualities of various arts like folk music and songs, ballets and piano to classical opera, reformed opera, Vietnamese operetta and drama.
–   Hanoi Opera House has also successfully organized several large-scale international concerts with the latest being a program of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra playing the Ninth Symphony by Beethoven.

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