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Saigon Announces Design Contest for D2's $64m Opera House Project

The massive 1,700-seat theater is estimated to cost VND1.5 trillion (US$64 million).

First proposed in 2018, the new symphony, opera and ballet theater in District 2's much-anticipated Thu Thiem New Urban Area will occupy 10,030 square meters with an additional 9,270 square meters allocated for an adjacent park, according to a decision signed by the city’s Vice Chairman Vo Van Hoan on Monday.

In contrast to the District 1 opera house, which was built in 1898 according to French colonial aesthetics, the new building will feature a modern and forward-looking design.

The theater, consisting of two auditoriums, will hold musical performances and art events as well as host conventions, seminars, workshops and exhibitions. It is also expected to provide much-needed practice space to the city's professional performing groups, including the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony and the Orchestra and Opera (HBSO)

The original estimates had given the project a competition goal of 2022, but no update was offered with the most recent announcement on Monday. Similarly, few details were given at the time of writing regarding the contest rules or guidelines.

Meanwhile, after years of garish construction barricades and equipment, the 3,000-square-meter area in front of the District 1 opera house has finally been restored as work on the metro line below is getting closer to the finish line.  

The area in front of Saigon Opera House on April 23. Photo by Alberto Prieto.