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Boundaries to be broken around Hanoi Opera House under ministry plan

By Doan Loan   March 30, 2017 | 08:26 pm GMT+7
Boundaries to be broken around Hanoi Opera House under ministry plan
Hanoi's Opera House seen from above. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

The goal is to turn what was built for an elite French audience into a cultural destination for everyone.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced plans to pull down the fence around the Hanoi Opera House and turn the area into an attractive cultural spot for members of the public and tourists to enjoy.

Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien said at a meeting on Wednesday in Hanoi that the ministry will invite foreign designers and consultants to advise on the project, which will involve connecting the building with attractions like the National History Museum, which is a three-minute walk away.

Both landmarks were built by the French during colonial times.

Thien said the complex will serve as a public stage for arts performances to highlight the capital’s cultural side and attract tourists, but added the plan was not aimed at financial gain.

“The Opera House is not a place for commercial shows. It should be developed into Vietnam’s leading cultural destination.”

Nguyen Thai Binh, a ministry spokesman, said the project will be funded by the state budget and private investors.

The French built the Opera House between 1901 and 1911, erecting the fence as the house mainly served a French audience who came to watch touring artists performing French and Italian repertoire. The Saigon Opera House was built at around the same time.

Hanoi received more than four million foreign visitors last year, up 23 percent against 2015.