The communities of Newcastle and Gateshead are bouncing back after missing out on their Capital of Culture bid by hosting one of Europe's largest Gypsy festivals.
Carmen will be performed by Romany theatre company Pralipe
The Newcastle-Gateshead gypsy festival has been billed as "a fascinating celebration of Gypsy culture".
The festival's artistic director Alan Lyddiard has flown in Hungarian Gypsy singer Mitsou who will star in a Northern Stage production of Black Eyed Roses.
After falling in love with her voice, Mr Lyddiard travelled to Budapest in the hope of finding her and persuading her to make the trip to Tyneside.
He said: "I fell in love with Mitsou's voice when I was researching ideas for The Black Eyed Roses and it became something of an obsession that I wanted her in the show."
The two week festival is a celebration of Romany and Gypsy music, theatre, dance, film, photography and participatory events from performers throughout the UK and Europe.
The festival includes the only UK performances of Carmen by German Romany theatre company Pralipe.
It will be performed in a 180-seater tent pitched at the side of the Newcastle playhouse.
A spectacular concert of Sinti music by Macedonian Romany Musicians, Les Manouches officially opened the concert on Saturday.
Carmen opens on Monday 16 June and Black Eyed Roses opens in The Playhouse on 17 June.
The festival boasts a number of other spectacular events which include performances of La Carcel de sevilla from teatro del veladoron and Ljiljana Butter and Mostar Sevdah Reunion who headline the Gypsy Music Day on 21 June.