Haskell Opera House/Opéra Haskell
Haskell Opera House/Opéra Haskell. A 400-seat theatre that has the distinction of being partly in Canada (Stanstead, formerly Rock Island, Quebec) and partly in the United States (Derby Line, Vermont). Construction began in 1901 at a cost of $100,000, the gift of the American philanthropists Martha and Stewart Haskell. The entrance to the hall and the adjoining Haskell Free Library are in the United States; the stage and most of the orchestra pit and balcony are in Canada. Inaugurated 7 Jun 1904 by the Columbia Minstrels, the bass Eugene Cowles (born in Stanstead, Quebec), and an orchestra from Sherbrooke, the theatre has subsequently housed light operatic and dramatic productions, recitals, and lectures. Because of its unique location, during World War Two the United States government declared the Haskell Opera House a neutral area in order to avoid complications for performers and audiences, who must cross the international boundary line that divides the auditorium. The theatre's use declined later in the 20th century, but it has continued in service, marking its 100th anniversary in 2004. Beginning in 1993, the Haskell Opera House has been home to the QNEK Productions opera company.