The 2,500-seat opera house, due to open in early 2019, will be built on the site of the Ataturk Cultural Centre.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday launched a project to build a brand new opera house in Istanbul, saying the new building would be a symbol for the city.
The 2,500-seat opera house, due to open in early 2019, will be built on the site of the Ataturk Cultural Centre (AKM) which has been unused for over a decade.
Erdogan said the cutting-edge opera house would give new life to Taksim Square in central Istanbul.
Backers of the project want the opera house to be as much as symbol of Istanbul as the Bolshoi Theatre is in Moscow or the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
"God willing it will become an honour and symbol for Istanbul and our country," Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.
The AKM, which for years has stood as an empty shell on Taksim Square, has had an unfortunate history.
It opened in 1969 but then closed almost immediately after a fire. It reopened in 1978, becoming the centre of Istanbul cultural life, but was then shuttered in 2008 for restoration that never took place.
But Erdogan said the resistance to the building's renewal was "not because of sensitivity to culture but ideological obsessions."
He added: "After protests, court cases and commotion, the path of science, intellect and rationality has prevailed."
"I know that the new AKM will benefit the most those who have sabotaged it for years."
He added Taksim would be fully pedestrianised with vehicle traffic passing underground, bringing a "new richness to the square."
In a signal the government does not want to be seen trampling over the past, the architect of the new building, Murat Tabanlioglu, is the son of Hayati Tabanlioglu, the architect of the original AKM.
The glass-covered modernist facade of the new building is also similar to the old edifice.
Opera houses are usually the places where rich elites go, "but this should change. They should be places where everyone can go," said Murat Tabanlioglu.