As our Page shared in part 1 of the series about Saigon Opera House, the original Theater was decorated with a lot of reliefs and vivid statues like the Saigon City Hall but the 40s of the last century were removed to “improve, refresh style “to suit new artistic tastes. It was a great loss, a prologue that made the Opera House not only gradually lose its original shape, but also change its inner architecture.
After more than 50 years of change in history to return to the function of the Theater, in the 300th anniversary of Saigon in 1998, the current administration restored some original decorations according to the motto of integrity. Original architecture such as the statue of 2 angels, festoon, the reliefs of the top of the wall, etc. in the theater renovation and upgrading. The total cost of restoration is about VND 25 billion at that time. However, after this restoration, it was further criticized because the roof used tole roofs with so inappropriate, but it was not accurate in architecture, so in 2007, it continued to have the second renovation project with scriptures. VND 1.6 billion of the fee, which returns the Ardoise roof tile (Rock sheet) to the roof of the theater and reworks the roof windows, repaints the facade, changes the number of seats and repeats the foundation etc … and the results is the status quo like the Theater we see today.
However, today, by finding extremely high definition images of the old Theater (not the previous postcard often seen) clearly enough to be able to compare details, we can clearly see the different between the decoration, which was originally not just for decoration but also has a profound meaning in art, about the characteristics of the Theater as the European Theater model that year. Not to mention the difference in meaning, it is also a mistake in the scale of the reliefs, losing the beauty of the original architecture and going against the principle set when restored the Theater 2 times as said above.
Although today, passing by the Theater, everyone praised it as a beautiful old colonial building, an indispensable place but the mistake of the façade of the façade led to many meaningful analysis of they are misleading, though it sounds good but it is not very relevant to the theater architecture.
Below, we would like to invite you to read the pictures comparing the original and current details, captions in each photo. Although we all knew it was impossible, just hope the City government will consider returning the Theater exactly as it originally did.