The Hanoi Opera House is a stunning example of French colonial architecture in Hanoi. The French built this site over 100 years ago. Two French architects named Broyer and Harlay modelled the building on the Gamier Opera House in Paris. The result was a classic European building revised to adapt to the climate and economic conditions of Vietnam.
The building spans 2,600 square meters and measures 87 meters in length and 30 meters in width, with a total height from road-level of 34 meters. Compared to the population of Hanoi at the time, the Hanoi Opera House was a huge construction that could accommodate 870 guests. The original design featured a large interior stage and an audience hall that measured 24 by 24 meters. The middle floor featured various small chambers, for those with more expensive tickets. A central staircase leads to a large hall on the second floor. There are side staircases and corridors on both sides. Behind the Opera House is an administrative room and 18 dressing rooms, two rehearsal rooms, a library and a meeting hall. When it first opened, the Opera House often hosted classical art genres such as opera, concert music and theatrical art for French officials and wealthy Vietnamese people.
The Opera House became familiar to Vietnamese people since it was the setting of various historical milestones of the August Revolution and the early years of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The first meeting of the Vietminh Front took place in Opera Square on August 17, 1945. Just a fe,w days later, Viet Bac liberators marched into Hanoi and stopped here to be welcomed by local Hanoians celebrating the victory of the August Revolution. After Independence Day, on September 16; 1945, the Golden Week took place in the square of the Hanoi Opera House. On March 5, 1946, the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam hosted the first plenum in the Opera House. Exactly one year after the Declaration of Independence ceremony, on September 2, 1946, there was a meeting to celebrate the first anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This was the first time that Uncle Ho entered the Opera House. A series of National Assembly meeting sessions were held in the Opera House until the inauguration of Ba Dinh Hall. Until today, the Opera House hosts crucial meetings and conferences and quality artistic performances by both domestic and international artists.
Beyond its magnificent architecture, the Hanoi Opera House prides itself on representing the historical and cultural values of Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular.