Hanoi Opera House

Coordinates: 21°01′27″N 105°51′28″E / 21.02417°N 105.85778°E / 21.02417; 105.85778
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Hanoi Opera House
Nhà hát Lớn Hà Nội
General information
TypeOpera house, theater
Architectural styleNeoclassical, eclecticism
LocationTrang Tien, Hanoi
Construction started7 June 1901
Opened9 December 1911; 112 years ago (9 December 1911)
Cost₣2 million, equivalent to ~US$8.4 million in 2011
Height34 m (112 ft)
Other dimensionslength 87 m (285 ft)
width 30 m (98 ft)
area 2,600 m2 (0.6 acres)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Broyer, V. Harley, Francois Lagisquet
Main contractorTravery, Savelon
Other information
Seating capacity598

The Hanoi Opera House (French: Opéra de Hanoï), or the Grand Opera House (Vietnamese: Nhà hát lớn Hà Nội, French: Grand Opéra) is an opera house in central Hanoi, Vietnam. It was erected by the French colonial administration between 1901 and 1911. Hanoi Opera House is one of three opera houses that the French built during their time in Indochina, the others are Haiphong Opera House and Municipal Theatre in Ho Chi Minh city.


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 main architectural style of the Opera House is Neoclassicism. As mentioned before, Hanoi Opera House was modeled on the Palais Garnier but with a smaller scale and using materials that are suitable with the environment. After the departure of the French the opera house became the scene for several political events,[1] as well as the scene of street fighting during the fight for Hanoi.

The Hanoi Opera House provides the names for the neighboring Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel which opened in 1999, as well as for the MGallery Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi, which opened in 2011. For historical reasons associated with the Vietnam war, the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel was not named the Hanoi Hilton.

The Opera Company[edit]

Colonial period[edit]

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.[2] The opera had depended on touring artists performing French and Italian repertoire during the colonial period for a mainly French audience.[3]

The Vietnam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB)[edit]

After the departure of the French the building was used for Vietnamese plays and musicals. The return of Western opera, and the first major non-French or Italian opera, was a performance of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin organised under Vietnam-Soviet cultural auspices in 1960, where the Russian vocal coach selected an untrained singer Quý Dương as a fit for the baritone title role.[4]

Today the orchestra of the opera overlaps with the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, and calls on the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra of the Hanoi Conservatory. Famous singers of the company include the Tchaikovsky Conservatory-trained soprano Lê Dung, the youngest ever person to be awarded People's Artist of Vietnam in 1993.

The Opera has seen many premieres of operas and musicals by Vietnamese composers. The operas of Đỗ Nhuận - Cô Sao ('Miss Sao') 1965, Người tạc tượng ('The Sculptor') 1971 and Nguyễn Trãi 1980, the works of Lưu Hữu Phước and the choral works of film composer Đặng Hữu Phúc. As well as works by returning emigre composers such as Nguyễn Thiên Đạo, a pupil of Messiaen in Paris.

The National Ballet is also part of the Opera House company and stages Western classics such as Swan Lake as well as traditional and modern Vietnamese dance productions.


See also[edit]

Smaller French theaters built around the same time:



  1. ^ War in the Shadows: The Guerrilla in History: Volume 1 - Page 403 Robert B. Asprey - 2002 "In early September, Viet Minh leaders (accompanied by OSS officers) stood on the balcony of the Hanoi opera house to proclaim the new Democratic Republic of Vietnam (the DRV)."
  2. ^ Arral, pp.??: "Like so many theaters in remote places, it was a small-scale model of the Paris Opera, new and with all the latest equipment for theatrical productions. It was our plan to give performances in Haiphong until such time as the International Exposition at Hanoi opened, and then to alternate between the two cities."
  3. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  4. ^ "Nghệ sỹ Quý Dương: Tình ca dài theo đất nước". Archived from the original on 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2012-09-26.


  • Arral, Blanche (Trans: Ira Glackens; Ed: William R. Moran), Extraordinary Operatic Adventures of Blanche Arral. Milwaukee, WI: Amadeus Press, 2002 ISBN 1574670778 ISBN 9781574670776

External links[edit]

21°01′27″N 105°51′28″E / 21.02417°N 105.85778°E / 21.02417; 105.85778