Saigon Opera House

Saigon Opera House, also known as Ho Chi Minh Central Theatre, is a famous venue for organizing art performances and significant events in the city.

Whether you like to learn about the culture or love the beautiful architecture, the Opera House is a must-see attraction in Ho Chi Minh.

Saigon Opera House
Saigon Opera House | ©falco/pixabay

Ho Chi Minh City Opera House


The building stands out with its white exterior, big columns, and French-style motifs. These all remind us of the ancient French colonial period in the early 20th century.

The magnificent architecture of the theater can be admired from afar. The dome and the reliefs were transferred to Saigon from Paris, and French architects designed all the external and internal decorations.

  • The building has three storeys with a total of 1800 seats.
  • The theater is two meters higher than the street surface and has two-door layers to prevent traffic noise.
  • The oval auditorium offers a good view from every seat and echo-free sound inside the theatre.
  • Saigon Opera House was built in 1898. Its major renovation, which took two years, from 1996 to 1998, cost USD 1.7 million.


An elegant building was built to show the performance and supply the needs of French people and the high class in society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The theater was started concreting in 1898. In 1911, a grand opening celebration was held to inaugurate this building.

After World War I, the city government removed many decorative reliefs and sculptures outside the theater under pressure from criticism of the influence of a French style.

The Ho Chi Minh City Opera House has been somewhat damaged throughout history. 1955, it was renovated but used as the House of Commons ò the Southern Government of Vietnam.

Since 1975, the theater has returned to its original performing arts function.

In 1998, the city celebrated its 300th anniversary by renovating and restoring the Central Theater to its original state. Thus, the Saigon Opera House has become a famous entertainment venue for Saigoneers and tourists.

Its façade is beautifully decorated with many statues and paintings, which attracts plenty of people who come to take pictures.

Significant historical events

Saigon Opera House infographic
  • January 17th, 1900: French actors and actresses performed the first show of the Opera House.
  • November 18th, 1918: Cai Luong, an artic performance from Southern Vietnam, organized at the theater. Cai Luong is known as Vietnamese Southern opera.
  • 1945 – 1955: The Opera House was closed during World War II and reopened in 1955 after the Geneva Convention (1954), when it became Southern Vietnam’s Assembly House.
  • May 1975: It was officially named the city’s opera house.
  • 1996: Saigon Opera House is closed for renovation.
  • December 18th, 1998: It was an Inauguration ceremony of Saigon Opera House after two years of renovation. The event marked the 300th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh City.
  • 2012: The Opera House is certified as a National Relic.

5 highlight performances shown in Ho Chi Minh Central Theater:

A O Show in Saigon
A O Show in Saigon | © lune production
  1. A O Show: The sound “A” means “village,” and “O” is reminiscent of “city.” The play takes you to the countryside of South Vietnam, which is somewhat rustic, simple, full of surprises, and engaging with typical bamboo items.
  2. Opera Gala: Symphony nights with legendary tunes by composers like Mozart and Beethoven.
  3. The Mist: Suong Som (The Morning Dew) is an emotional show that portrays the life of the Vietnamese community. It is a contemporary dance show that combines semi-classical ballet to recreate the life associated with rice, the field, and the gentle soul of southern farmers.
  4. Musicals – Dance: Classical dances are performed by professional actors and talented orchestras.
  5. Vietnamese music programs: Praising the homeland, the country, and the people of Vietnam through lyrics, singing, and acting arts.

Ticket price

The Saigon Opera House will host many shows. The ticket price varies with each performance but generally ranges from 200,000 VND to 2,000,000 VND.

For foreign tourists, we recommend seeing the A O Show. The A O Show has three official seats: Aah [A], Ooh [O], and Wow [W].

There are three levels of the entrance fee to see AO show:

  • AAH! (A)= 700.000 VND
  • OOH! (O) = 1.150.000 VND
  • WOW! (W) = 1.600.000 VND

In particular, the seating plan has economy class seats that usually sit [A] on the stage’s wings. The position of [O] seats is direct across the stage, helping you to see the live performance better.

The best class is the seat [W] on the upper floor, which is the most comprehensive position for watching the show from every angle.

A O Show Seats
A O Show Seats

For tickets to this show, you can come directly to the theater or check Lune Production to buy them online and see the performance schedule.

Some notes before coming to the Opera House of Saigon

  • Because entering the theater is associated with each musical or art show, you should arrive about 15-30 minutes before the performance starts. Then, you can find a seat, take a photo, or take a tour before the show starts.
  • Out of the performing time, you can visit and take pictures in front of the Opera House. The building itself is a beautiful place with rich architectural value.
  • At the show’s end, it’s time for the artists to interact with the audience. It would help if you prepared the camera or phone in advance to take souvenir photos and questions you ask yourself. However, the artists usually speak Vietnamese, and there are many Vietnamese audiences around them, so it takes a lot of work for foreign visitors to communicate with them.
  • Do not bring intensely smelly food and drink into the theater, affecting the inside environment.
  • If you visit the theater during the day, you can combine a visit to the nearby Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Central Post Office.

Saigon Opera House’s address: 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (on Google map)
Phone: 028 3829 9976
Website: for ballet and music; and for A O and The Mist shows.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.