There are several Opera houses in Vietnam that were built during the French rule. One of them is the Civic Theatre “Saigon Opera House” in Ho Chi Minh City. There are regular performances here, and anyone can buy a ticket to see them.
This time, I visited Saigon Opera House the other day! I would like to tell you in detail from how to buy a ticket to the inside of the Opera House.
※This article was written before the virus scandal. This will be updated.
- 1 an opera house built during French rule
- 2 Tickets purchased at Lune Production site
- 3 Lobby and Interior
- 4 a free drink
- 5 Free drink service!
- 6 Sheet MAP and Capacity
- 7 simple design seating
- 8 second-floor seat with a great view
- 9 acrobatic show “A O SHOW”
- 10 Traditional Vietnamese Performing Arts in French Architecture
an opera house built during French rule
The Saigon Opera House in Ho Chi Minh is located along Dong Koi Street, also known as “Champs Elysees” in Ho Chi Minh. Locally, it is also called “civic theater”.
It is a colonial style building that symbolizes the period of French rule in Vietnam, and was built from 1897 to 1899. It is older than “Hanoi Opera House” which was built in 1911. It was partially destroyed by the World War 2 air raids and was restored in 1955.
It was once used as a national assembly hall, but it has returned to being a concert theater and is performed every day.
In addition, there is a cafe (Highlands Coffee) behind the Opera House, and besides the terrace seats, there is a calm atmosphere inside the Opera House building.
Tickets purchased at Lune Production site
Regarding the performance ticket of Saigon Opera House, if you purchase it from Japan, the website of “Lune Production” is convenient! You can reserve a seat, and you can buy it easily by credit card.
If you buy a ticket online, an e-ticket will be issued, but you need to exchange it for a real ticket at the ticket window on the day of the performance. There is a counter for exchanging tickets on the right side of the main entrance of the opera house, so you can present your e-ticket there.
The ticket has a stub on the left side of the perforation and a welcome drink (see below) on the right side.
But this time the ticket price is 1.6 million VND (8,000 yen). Although it is the most expensive 1st category seat, it is quite expensive considering the price level in Vietnam …。
For same-day tickets, go to the ticket booth on the left side of the entrance. The box office is open at 9: 30 ~ 18: 00 except just before the performance.
Lobby and Interior
Then I will go inside after checking the ticket. You can enter the lobby of the Opera from about an hour before the performance.
This entrance lobby has a refined design with a chandelier and sculptured white walls.
If you go in and go towards the front, you will see the entrance to the flat dirt floor seats on the first floor, and if you go up the red carpet stairs on both sides, you can go to the lobby and the seats on the upper floor. It’s not quite a grand staircase like Garnier in Paris, but it has a luxurious feel and is good!
The lobby upstairs looks like this. The opera house has up to three floors, but the top floor was not open for this performance.
Also, you cannot enter the audience seats until 30 minutes before the curtain time.
a free drink
Now, in the lobby on the first floor, there is a drink counter like this where anyone can drink for free. As was the case with the Opera House in Hanoi, this kind of service is a must in a tropical country!
There were three kinds of drinks, water, green tea, and lemon grass and peach tea, and it was refreshing and delicious!
I also tried green tea, but I will ask the staff to pour it into a cup. I thought it was matcha flavor, but somehow it tasted like edamame and sobs …。 It seems good for my body, but I give it in one bite!
There were also tea sweets, and when I asked what they were, they said, “Ginger”. It is not sweet and tastes like natural ginger. Everything in Vietnam seems to be healthy!
Free drink service!
There is another drink counter in the lobby on the first floor where alcohol such as wine and whisky is placed. The water was free, but unfortunately the alcohol menu is charged.
However, if you use the service ticket of welcome drink included in the performance ticket (see above), you can drink 1 cup for free! I had red wine, which was quiet but rich and deep.
The regular price of the wine is 60,000 VND (≠ 300 yen), and there are also whisky, mojito and brandy, all of which offer 1 free glass.
Tickets are expensive, but it’s nice to have such a service!
Sheet MAP and Capacity
Then, it’s 30 minutes before the show starts, so go to the audience!
Tickets are also checked at the entrance of the audience seats, so you cannot enter the floors other than the designated one before the performance starts. I was assigned to the second floor seat, so I entered the first floor flat floor seat after the performance and took a picture.
The opera house has a capacity of about 500 people, but the top floor (Second floor) is not open and tickets are not sold.
Also, there should be balcony seats on both sides of the flat dirt floor, but it is not shown on the seat map, so I think only about 400 people can fit in even if it is full.
simple design seating
When you enter the hall, you will see a small but authentic horseshoe shaped auditorium. The uniform white walls have no gold decorations or sculptures, and are very simple in construction but have a refined beauty.
The design of the ceiling is quite unique! It’s an egg shape like an abalone, and there are many layers of white carvings.
The bright red seats with elegant design are spacious with a seat width of about 50 cm when you sit down! However, the seat is old, so if you put your weight on the back, you will lose balance and fall down.
There are balcony overhangs and pillars on the upper floor at the back of the flat dirt floor seats, so the view and sound might be a little difficult. You should be careful not to choose a seat around here.
There is a wide space between the audience and the stage, but I couldn’t find any equipment like an orchestra pit when I looked at it. It might not be the venue mainly for the live performance of the orchestra.
second-floor seat with a great view
My seat this time was on the balcony of the 2nd floor (First floor). I reserved a seat in the front row, but there was nothing to block the view, and it was a good seat with a sense of openness!
The specification of the seat is a little different from the flat dirt floor on the first floor, and the armrest is not shared with the next seat but a separate type, so it is even more comfortable!
Here is the view of the stage from the center seat of the balcony on the second floor. It can be seen from the front to the back of the stage, and it is a perfect composition! If the ticket price is the same, I recommend you to choose this second floor seat over the first floor without hesitation!
acrobatic show “A O SHOW”
By the way, the name of this performance is “A O SHOW”. This is a regular performance at the Saigon Opera House. It is an acrobatic entertainment show using bamboo and a bowl made of straw.
The concept is the history of Vietnam. It depicts the scene of Vietnam starting with a classic life and growing into a city, and the nostalgia for the good old days that are gradually disappearing in the scene, as well as the irony toward the city.
It is similar to “LANG TOI – MY VILLAGE” I saw in Hanoi before, but there was a modern dance with voice percussion in the middle, so I felt it was more entertaining.
Personally, I prefer performances in Hanoi, but there are live performances of classical instruments, so I have no complaints about the contents!
The performance time is short, starting at 18: 00 and ending at 19: 15, with no intermission. After the performance, the performers will see them off in the lobby and take a commemorative photo.
Traditional Vietnamese Performing Arts in French Architecture
That’s why I told you about the appreciation report of the Saigon Opera House, but it’s good that you can experience something unique like “Traditional Vietnamese performing arts seen in a hall of Western architecture”.
The ticket is a little expensive, but I think it’s worth going. If you have a chance, please!
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