The Hanoi Opera is a stunningly beautiful building, and one of the few positive things that ever came out of French colonialism. It was built by the French in 1911 and modelled on Paris' famed Palais Garnier.
We stayed at the Hilton Opera, directly adjacent to the Opera itself, and our room had a great view of the building. But the highlight came one night when Fidel Castro was in town and made a visit to the Opera. We waited outside for over an hour until Castro came out, and we were able to get a glimpse of him being whisked away in his limo. Seeing Fidel Castro in Vietnam had to be the most Communist experience that I can possibly imagine.
The French certainly left their mark on Hanoi’s streets when they ran the country. As Hanoi is the capital, it has been blessed with some beautiful French colonial architecture with the Opera House being their crowning glory. Built between 1901 and 1911, it is a small scale replica of the Palais Garnier, the older of Paris’s two opera houses. Unfortunately, to get inside, you'll have to attend a performance.
Hanoi's opera house is well worth a short visit by its impressive outside appearance. It looks like a giant French colonial mansion and is a really beautiful building. The building was constructed to resemble the Parisian opera - I haven't seen the latter, so I'm not sure if its true. Anyway, more interesting than the building are its insides. Try to get tickets for a concert or another show. There are plenty of different events. I went there for a piano concert (mainly Liszt), and I was fascinated.
Events are listed e.g. at this site.
This building is a « must see » in Hanoi, and you will not be disappointed by this classical-baroque-art nouveau building and even feel a bit of French atmosphere, as it was built in 1911 by architects Broger and Harloy as a small copy of the Opéra Garnier (the Paris Opera house) in the centre of the French quarter of Hanoi. From far it looks like, but the decoration of the copy, built with white and yellow painted stones is way not as “rich” as the original.
It has been restored with the help of the French government in 1997; it is indeed a nice view from the streets, day or night, with wide open space around.
When there are no performances it is closed and even not possible to walk in the garden on the north western side; in the gardens of the south eastern side is a garden café you can enter only if you tell the watchman you want to have a drink or snack; from there it is possible to have a closer look at architectural details; the “art deco” glass awnings on the side entrances (picture3) are stylish! The coloured tile friezes (Picture4), or the campanile on the roof give this building some character. Best to enjoy this building might be to look from far first, then have a drink in the nearby café and take time to look at details.
I wish you have the luck to look inside if you pass by, I only could look through the glass doors of the main entrance and it looks quite “chic” inside (Main picture), with the red carpet, marble stairs, flowers. . . .
The French and Austrian embassies organised a performance of the Magic Flute with local artists in 2006; I would have liked to listen and to watch such a performance. I link you to the Queen of the Night, waiting for a new opportunity to have the live performance (click on 04). (I know, on hi fi it would be better!)
A visit to the French Quarters of Hanoi is an absolute must. Really, the colonial buildings here are gorgeous despite the Vietnamese addiction to ochre-coloured paint.
Take a look around and marvel at the Neo-Baroque facade of the Opera House, the History Museum, the Geographic Museum. You'll find that the colonial buildings here are more well-maintained and stately compared to the ones found in Ho Chi Minh. If you really need to know, the Opera House was recently refurbished at a cost of a whopping USD$20million.
Tip: Look out for strange mythical creatures on the roof of the Opera House.
The Opera House is based on the neo-Baroque Paris Opera and took ten years to build. It was finally opened in 1911. Unfortunately though there's no access to the public, unless of coarse you're lucky enough to see a performance.
This is perhaps one of the most beautiful buildings in Hanoi and makes you feel you are in Europe instead of Vietnam. Located on the corner of Trang Tien Street, the Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon) was built by the French and opened in 1911 (modelled on the Paris Opera buildings). On 19 August 1945, the Viet Minh declared an independence democratic republic of Vietnam from th balcony of this building. The opera house was restored in 1997, resulting in a very stunning architecture at the heart of Hanoi.
French influence is noticeable on most buildings' and landmarks' architecture around the French Quarters' area. Take the Opera House; if you've been to the actual Opera House in Paris, you'll notice a resemblance.
We took a cyclo ("motorcycle) ride to the Opera House from the Old Quarters. Felt like I was in a time travel capsule enjoying my ride that transported me from the local cultures and charms at the Old Quarters, to a newer and modern French Quarters' area with a very French outlook.
This historic Art Nouveau building was built in 1911. You need to attend a performance such as a ballet dance, in order to enter. If you are not interested, just enjoy its grandeur from the outside when you pass by the french quarters. Around it, you can also see lots of colonial buidlings that marked the presence of the French in its past.
Another great example of colonnial architecture, the Opera House (built in 1911) overlooks one of the busiest intersections in Hanoi (and that's saying something!).
(I was standing in the middle of the road - so I had to wait for a very quiet moment to take this picture!)
The Ha Noi Opera House was completed in 1911 in the same architectural style as the Opera House in Paris. This is the most striking building in Hanoi with its neo-Baroque architecture that feature pillars and balconies overlooking the city center. The 900-seat opera house plays host to visiting foreign performances as well as Vietnamese symphonies. If you enjoy this type of entertainment, the best seats usually sell for less than $10 USD10. It was from a balcony of this building on 16th august 1945 that the Viet Minh announced from the main balcony that they had taken over the city.
The Opera House is a beautiful building of French Architecture in the middle of the Orient. They do have performances there now. Unfortunately I traveled there on a day when no performances were going on. It is neat however to stand on the steps of the Opera House and watch the crazy traffic that whirls by the cul de sac that the building stands on.
The French Quarter of Hanoi boasts of building still retaining French architecture, as well as the most glitzy addresses, boutiques and restaurants in Hanoi.
If you decide to spend a bomb trying out first rate local cuisine, go no further than the French Quarter.
If you decide to go to an opera or two a la French style, that's where you would head as well.
I didnt actually go inside the opera house , but i did walk past it, and its a massive building where the architechture is amazing that it stands out a mile in comparision to the rest of Hanoi.
It was this building where the Viet Minh announced that they had taken over Hanoi from the french occupants.
If you've always wanted to shock your parent, here's your chance to do so. ( Some of us never do grow up !! ) Hanoi has one of the strangest menus in the world, so pick one strange creature. Make sure it's
2) all the toxins are removed
3) dangerous or wierd looking
4) not endangered
Ok, put one near your mouth. Ask your co-conspirator to take a snapshot. Now, email that picture or MMS it to your chosen parent for instant results. Call your parent approx 10 minutes after sending that picture. She would have come to at about that...