Sing your heart out with an operagram

The Time Out blog: February 8, 2012 in Music & Clubbing

Trying to think of something a little more original than chocolates and roses this Valentine’s? How about a bespoke operagram? The Opera Lap Diva – aka Baroness Tamara von Stein zu Leitershofen – offers performances from multilingual romance in the boudoir to amplified kink at a bus stop or even an aria over the phone to a distant loved one. And it’s all for charity, with donations going to fight HIV in Lesotho.

Oxjam Takeover Camberwell 2011: Review 22 November 2011

Venue: Crocked Well

On to the next stop, The Phoenix to see Ruby Tuesdees but on our way a quick detour was in order as we  had an opportunity to meet Baroness Tamara Von Stein Zu Leitershofen who happened to onstage as we passed, so on entering the Crooked Well we are met by a vibrant colour co-ordinated lady effortlessly expelling operatic notes but on closer analysis to my surprise the subject matter was of a comedic nature totally throwing me off kilter in a good way, instantly invoking a smile on my face which led to an undeniable chuckle, Baroness Tamara then proceeded to gently coerce a member of the audience to join her on stage for what was to be a fabulously funny operatic skecth culminating in two members of the audience on stage perfoming their parts as an unassuming audience member would, a truly comical experience for everyone.

«Lo máximo sería que Lady Gaga se pusiera uno de mis diseños»

Sara González Nava Diseñadora EN TRES MINUTOS -
13.11.11 - 01:16  by ÁLVARO MUÑOZ | PALENCIA 

La leonesa Sara González Nava acaba de volver de Londres, donde ha presentado un modelo que lucirá la cantante de ópera y cabaret Baroness Tamara Von Stein, quien actuará por los locales y teatros de la capital inglesa. La leonesa, que trabaja actualmente en la empresa palentina Sadecor, estudió en Burgos, a la par que realizaba proyectos personales para encargos personales o concursos, como el celebrado en julio de 2011, cuando ganó el primer premio de diseño de moda de Aranda de Duero con la colección 'Señorita'.
-¿Cuáles son sus fuentes de inspiración para diseñar la ropa?
-La inspiración se encuentra en pequeñas cosas, pero hay que trabajarla mucho.
En mi caso, el rol de la mujer, tanto en el pasado como en el presente, es una inspiración a la que suelo recurrir. La colección 'Señorita' es un homenaje a la mujer española de las décadas de los 40 a los 60, y al papel que esta desempeñó en la sociedad, y como tal, la colección cuenta con una profunda investigación sobre el tema.
-¿Qué le hace diferente del resto de diseñadores?
-Lo que nos diferencia a unos diseñadores de los otros es nuestro estilo y personalidad, nuestra forma de trabajar y de ver las cosas, pero no creo que yo sea mejor o peor que otros. Cada uno tiene sus puntos fuertes.

-¿Cuál es su prenda fetiche?
-Me encanta la ropa que destaca la feminidad de las mujeres, de corte corsetero, con transparencias sutiles y similar a la ropa interior, quizás sea por eso que me dedico al diseño de moda íntima y de baño.

-¿A qué famoso le gustaría vestir?
-Estoy abierta a vestir a cualquier persona, pero me encantaría hacer vestuario para espectáculos. Lo máximo sería que Lady Gaga se pusiera alguna colección mía en alguno de sus videoclips.

Baroness Tamara von Stein zu Leitershofen - Oxjam Camberwell Takeover

interview by Ani from Creative Happen on 19th October 2011

How did you come up with your name?
Tarama Stein is my normal name the idea of the baroness was born from an operatta Bernstein’s Candide the aria is sung by Cunegonde, daughter of the Baron of Thunder-ten-tonckh, obviously the title Baron never existed in Germany, it is “Freiherr” and his daughter would be titled “Freiin” and the Leitershofen was added to my name when I copied an old neighbour of mine Freiin Julia Dorothea Helena von Schenk zu Schweinsberg, Leitershofen is a small town in Swabia where my great great grandmother used to own the manor house.
How Long Have you been Performing?
I have been performing in Cabaret since 2008 and I started singing Opera in 1999. All in all I have been “Onstage” for 25 years as a professional. I started very young. We had a performance in my after school club and because I was in the first year in primary school, I was not really considered for anything. I was very upset about it to the surprise of my surroundings; my mother, my teacher even my class mates. So they let me join in. Just a small part, which I then nearly wasn’t able to do due to an accident and a subsequent stay in hospital. But even then I new “The Show Must Go On.”
How would you describe your sound?
I call myself a light lyrical coloratura soprano or a traditional Viennese Soubrette (a light high flexible young soprano with a pretty face and good acting skills).
What are your main influences?
Irish-British mezzo-soprano Ann Murray and the Finnish mezzo-soprano Monika Groop. Two very different voice, but wonderful performers. Also Mady Mesple and Lucia Popp. And I love Mozart’s Opera’s, there is hardly one I do not like. I also took strength from Beethoven’s Opera Fidelio when I was younger and still do. And more.
Who is Your Musical Hero?
Mozart!!! Mozart Rocks!
What made you decide to do Oxjam?
I am involved with a lot of charity project and charity concerts in the UK and I run my own charity project called The Opera Diva’s Challenge in aid of Sentebale a charity based in Lesotho. The charity provides bursaries to the most vulnerable children; orphaned girls and of course HIV positive children, to help with school uniforms etc.
What does Oxjam mean to you?
I think it means two things for me. I can bring my art form to people who normally would not even consider listening to opera and can help to educate people about the work Oxfam does. It is a great charity and they do very valuable work. To me it is one of the major charities in the world.
In one short sentence summarise what your band/music is?
A unique experience- you need to see it to understand it, words cannot describe it.
What’s next after Oxjam?
A Photo shoot with photographer Sin Bozkurt. I got a new costume from a lovely emerging Spanish designer, Sara Gonzales Nava, which was inspired by circus aerial performers of a gone by age. Sin and I want to preserve a momentum for posterity before the everyday life of a costume kills it.

photo by Michael Mapp

Opera diva Tamara Stein works with emerging fashion designers

by Olivia Pinnock
for 1st August 2011

Professional opera singer Tamara Stein is a woman with a lot of passion. Passion for performing, passion for changing the image of opera and passion for giving something back to the world.
At the moment, she’s channelling it all into the Opera Diva’s Challenge, where she is hoping to raise £3,000 money for the charity, Sentebale by taking part in tasks using her talents.
She’s asking the public to donate money in exchange for her services as an opera diva, whether you want to serenade your loved one with an operagram, hire her as your party entertainment or if you want to put her to the test by challenging her to sing accompanied by a ukulele, or even perform standing on her head!
Sentebale helps to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho, in Africa. They provide care, education and help for orphans and children with special needs and HIV and aids. There are also issues within the fashion industry over there including child labour and a lack of skills to help improve the industry and the lives of the people working for them. “It’s one of the poorest countries in the world which is why I’m trying to raise the money and raise awareness about how it is out there,” Tamara says. “People say ‘ooh why don’t you support people here in England.’ And I thought, you know what, we actually have an awful lot and in the long run it’s going to be a huge problem in Africa, aids and HIV, and we have to work against it. It costs us an awful lot of money.” So far she has raised around half of her target.
Also known by her stage name, Baroness Tamara von Stein zu Leitershofen, Tamara, who lives in London but was born in Germany, is not only a professional opera singer but a cabaret performer. And what goes better with cabaret than fabulous costumes.
Tamara has been working with designers to help promote their work, through wearing their costumes on stage. She covers the cost of the materials and shipping used in exchange for a mention in the shows programme and in her act.
It’s probably an avenue most designers haven’t considered but Tamara explains why it’s worthwhile: “When I wear something, I bring it to life. The dress and I are one. I’m not a walking coat hanger, I’m actually a living thing that can talk and bully people into buying stuff!” It’s an opportunity to not only showcase your talent but have someone talk about how talented you are, something most us are too shy to do for ourselves. She is also open to coming to designer’s catwalks and performing a song while wearing the costume they designed for her.
Currently, she is working with Sara González Nava, a Spanish designer who she was introduced to through a friend at a fashion PR company. She is working on a vibrant purple and orange hot pants with short dress set, which perfectly suits Tamara’s colourful personality and personal dress sense, as well as her brash and sexy stage persona. Sara has also managed to include elements of her own label though, with buttons down the front which are a signature of her collection.
With a real showgirl, circus feel, this has been a fun project for Sara whose usual designs are cute and feminine. “I am very excited about this project and I think that the result will be very nice,“ Sara told us. Tamara was keen to let Sara do her own thing: “I didn’t want to actually tell her what to do because I do my own designs as well, my own creations for my costumes which are very elaborate, very baroque and a huge amount of fabric in it and I want something different so I said ‘you do it,’” she explained.
They have been discussing the ideas purely through Facebook and email and Tamara is very pleased with the result so far. She is planning on wearing the outfit for a charity cabaret gig in September.
Tamara wants to encourage other designers to come forward and take on the challenge and have some fun designing a stage costume for her or even to turn it in to an Opera Diva Challenge in itself. She’s also currently looking for someone to create a ball gown for her for her more classical performances.
Her next opera diva challenge will be a solo performance of Frauenliebe und Leben by Schumann
in Fitzroy Square, London, on 15 September at 1:15pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
You can send the Opera Diva a challenge through her website and donate money to the cause at

Review: The Opera Diva’s Boudoir at The Camden Head

All this and cake too!
An exclusive Soiree with London’s only Opera Lap Diva, Baroness Tamara von Stein zu Leitershofen, kicked off with the Baroness in high heels, a gold ringmaster’s hat and a glittering midnight blue costume.  Baroness Tamara opened her show by giving the audience a brief glimpse of her aristocratic European background. A Schloss here, a castle there – this opera diva had done it all.  Interspersed with high notes, high kicks and operatic arias, a glamorous life in an age of grand dinners, soirees and house parties was revealed.  She sang a mixture of old favourites from well-known operas, and short comic songs with flirty lyrics, ably accompanied by ‘Mistress of the Ivory Keys’, her partner in crime and pianist, Gabriela Linhartova.

With her act part stand-up and part TV confessional, Baroness Tamara drew audience members into her ‘boudoir’ one by one for interrogation.  She illustrated why one couple might prefer to have boys and her impression of a teenage shopaholic had the men in the audience enthralled.  Another couple were encouraged to be ‘more romantic’ with the Baroness giving tips including head massage techniques, as demonstrated on another member of the audience (verdict – very good!).  Some of her questioning seemed a little too close for comfort for an audience in a small venue, but her mix of charm and bossiness ensured that she persuaded everyone to take part.

The Baroness rounded off the show by ripping off her frilly red dress to reveal under it – somehow – a full length brown velvet evening gown, which was perfect for the short sequence of songs with which she ended the performance.

For the grand finale a birthday cake, lovingly baked by the Baroness, was shared with the audience.  Verdict – excellent and a perfect opportunity for yet more audience participation.

There are no more performances of The Opera Diva’s Boudoir at this year’s Fringe but to find out more about the Baroness, go to

Karaoke with a ukulele twang

Martha De Lacy, London Lite
12 Jun 2009

Who said small instruments couldn't make a big noise? The teeny-tiny Hawaiian ukulele is making large waves across our little island, with indie bands from Devon to Dundee taking it to their hearts. And at the crest of the splash is the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain, an eight-strong gang who are taking their twanging to the masses.
My love affair began a couple of years ago when that very gaggle of “ukeologists” serenaded us at The Big Chill festival with a rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit that could've cheered up even Kurt Cobain.
Now I am delighted to report that the itty-bitty instrument is causing a kerfuffle on the London club scene.
KaraUke is a new monthly night of karaoke, with added ukuleles, in the basement bar of Hoxton Square's Zigfrid Von Underbelly.
Founder Lorraine Bow, a ukulele aficionado first inspired and then taught by the UOGB, started a ukulele jam night in Soho. Two years on and the players were getting itchy feet. “We wanted to form a band but none of us could sing so we were limited in what we could do,” she explains. Naturally, if other people sang, this problem vanished. And so KaraUke was born. Who wouldn't want to sing with the backing of 15 ukuleles? I just had to try it and headed east with some pals.

After paying a measly £5 to get in and £12.50 for a bottle of house white, we perched on a table at the front of the room and snuggled down to enjoy a handful of cabaret acts, warming the stage and setting the evening's tone: very silly. First up was the opera-warbling Baroness Tamara Von Stein Zu Leitershofen who, bedecked in jewels, silk, fur and tiaras, hoisted some poor unsuspecting soul from his seat and demanded he serenade his girlfriend with an aria, even when it became clear that his girlfriend was, in fact, his sister. While the KaraUke song list did the rounds we were wooed by Uke Must Be Kidding, a three-piece whose electric uke medley slipped daintily between You Spin Me Round, Don't You Want Me, Fame, Blue Monday and Killing Me Softly.They set the bar pretty high.

I had to dart around the room (growing packed with groups of skinny-jeaned boys and pretty girls) to find the song list in order to change our pick (Don't You Want Me) for something that hadn't been done (Be My Baby). Someone else who set the bar higher was the first KaraUkeing member of the public, my friend Sam, whose girlfriend Harriet had secretly nominated him to sing The Jungle Book's I Wanna Be Like You.When his name was hollered he rolled his eyes but sprang on stage with the confident air of someone who had done all this before. As Sam twirled the microphone and bounded around the stage like Baloo, we watched the crowd's faces flitter between hand-clappy joy and absolute fear. How to top this? Well. There was Dimitri who chose to execute Wild Thing with the growling, hip-swiggling innuendo of a certified sex pest and Bruno who took on Crocodile Rock.Harriet stomped and whomped through These Boots Were Made For Walking, while Gareth opted to shriek New York, New York so loud that I swear Manhattan could hear him. And as for Becky, Emma and I? Well, we sang Dirty Dancing favourite Be My Baby with sheer volume and a slice of greed by singing all the parts — even the harmonies which the KaraUke band were performing for us. We even ignored their count-in intro, pelting into the song headfirst and watching 15 ukulele players racing to catch up. Once I had begged (and failed) to be allowed back on stage for a second offering (they are only open until 1am) we made our way home, musing on what to perform next time. I have a feeling that Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence won't be on the bill next Thursday — but I'll be there to check.

Scandaleuse Ivy Paige, danseuse de cabaret

Propos recueillis par Cindy Cao 2008

Danseuse libertine et scandaleuse, Ivy Paige s’est inspirée des ébats du 18ème siècle pour monter son spectacle « Ivy Paige’s Scandalous ! » Dans une maison qui ressemble à un décor de théâtre classique avec des chandeliers et des tables à l’ancienne, vous aurez droit à un spectacle grivois burlesque et un florilège de divas, de danseuses, de libertines et d’amoureuses… Attention, finie votre belle réputation, c’est le début d’un grand scandale !
Depuis combien de temps êtes-vous artiste burlesque ?
Je travaille en tant que danseuse professionnelle depuis 5 ans. J’ai toujours su que je voulais être comédienne/danseuse. J’ai toujours travaillé en tant qu’actrice professionnelle et directrice, ce qui enrichit vraiment mon travail d’artiste burlesque et cabaret.
Comment avez-vous découvert cette passion ?
Que d’autre pourrais-je faire quand je nourris une telle passion pour le théâtre, le glamour et le cabaret ? Je suis une showgirl de cœur avec un penchant pour tout ce qui brille. En tant qu’artiste burlesque, mon travail est à mi-chemin entre le strip tease, la pose et la chanson. C’est un monde de rêves, d’histoires et d’illusions où la chair, les secrets et les émotions sont révélés. J’appelle ça le « théâtre burlesque.
Vous avez un style vraiment particulier. Où trouvez-vous l’inspiration ?
Je m’inspire de choses diverses. Un jour, j’ai porté une chaussure comme un chapeau ! Mes idées elles-mêmes ont différentes sources. J’essaie de voir autant de spectacles que possible et cette invariable a de l’influence sur mon travail. Ma dernière pièce « Eat Me » s’inspirait de « The Nut Cracker » de Matthew Bourne.
Cependant, en ce moment, je suis vraiment influencée par le XVIIIème siècle et j’explore cet aspect tout au long de mon spectacle « Ivy Paige’s Scandalous ! » Il y a quelque chose d’inhérent, d’érotique, de secret dans chacune des couches des jupons…
Quelles sont les artistes burlesques que vous admirez le plus ?
Il y a beaucoup d’artistes que j’admire et je dois dire que j’ai vraiment beaucoup de chance de travailler avec certains d’entre eux. J’adore le travail de Roxy Velvet, elle est trop glamour, elle ose et elle a beaucoup de talent. J’adore la beauté classique de la starlette Miss Polly Rae et sa troupe les Hurly Burly Girlys. J’aime aussi The Marquis of Gray, The London Magician, Lap Opera Diva The Baroness Tamara Von Stein Zu Leitershofen et bien entendu ma proper troupe les Paige Girls.
Quels seraient les conseils à donner aux jeunes filles qui veulent se lancer dans le burlesque ?
Pratiquez, pratiquez, pratiquez ! L’enthousiasme n’est pas un substitut à l’entrainement. Inscrivez-vous à des cours et développez vos talents avec un professeur qui a de l’expérience. C’est un secteur difficile et si vous voulez en faire carrière, attendez-vous à travailler dur et à trouver votre propre style. Je garde dans un carnet toutes mes idées, ce qui me permet de garder toutes les choses qui m’inspirent. Mon meilleur conseil est que les plus beaux costumes ne sont pas forcément synonyme d’un spectacle réussi. C’est le contenu qui est vraiment important. Demandez-vous quelle était l’histoire de la pièce.
Quel est votre meilleur souvenir ?
Travailler avec John Waters qui a choisi de travailler personnellement avec moi pour son spectacle à l’Hammersmith Apollo mais je dois dire que le narcissisme a toujours tiré le meilleur de moi et jouer mon spectacle à Londres « Ivy Paige’s Scandalous » est quelque chose que j’adore.
Pouvez-vous nous raconter l’histoire de votre spectacle « Ivy paige’s Scandalous » ?
Ce spectacle est joué tous les deuxièmes samedis du mois. Ce sont des ébats du 18ème siècle au 21ème siècle ! Dans ma maison « Scandalous », vous aurez droit à un spectacle grivois burlesque et la scène explose de divas, de danseuses, de libertines et d’amoureuses ! Mais attention, ce spectacle mettra fin à votre fine réputation et c’est le début d’un grand scandale !
A Paris, nous sommes fiers du Moulin Rouge. Cela vous inspire ?
Je vais voir le Moulin Rouge l’année prochaine et je ne peux pas attendre ! C’est un lieu légendaire rien que d’y penser, cela m’inspire. Je travaille avec une chorégraphe exceptionnelle qui était danseuse pour le Moulin Rouge et qui a trouvé l’inspiration pour le French Can Can dans Ivy Paige’s Scandalous !
Un mot pour les Françaises de Londres ?
Venez me voir et mon spectacle « Ivy Paige’s Scandalous » et devenez une Paige Girl honoraire le temps d’une soirée.

Ivy Paige's ‘Scandalous’ Bawdy is back!

by Ella Emerald
for Peep Toe Magazine on 09/05/08

After a gruelling journey to London Kitty and I were welcomed with open arms by a gang of whores at the door, whispering and fluttering their fans.
Volupte’s sumptuous surroundings had been taken over for the evening by Ivy Paige and her reprobate friends for a spectacular show set in the streets of old London.
From the outset we were enveloped into the seedy plot with a welcome from the Marquis of Gray who strutted about gossiping with the patrons and telling us not to believe the scandalous talk about him.
A mix between the Marquis De Sade and your typical dandy he was involved with the audience throughout the show and really helped set the scene as one of Ivy’s ‘gentleman callers’.
As we found our seats a lovely talk dark gentleman conjuror Michael Coffey who entertained us with a few card tricks but mostly with his charming personality in the face of mine and Kitty’s teasing. (We can be ruthless but it just means we like you!)
As the show began we were treated to a bawdy dance from Ivy’s Paige Girls. Then we had our first eyeful of Ivy with her husky, world weary voice, huge pile of powdered red hair with actual ivy winding through it.
Our hostess managed to get the whole audience participating in creating the ambience of old London, no mean feat so early on in the show.
The guest performer of the night, Roxy Velvet was a pleasure to watch. She managed her act over three songs without making it seem stretched at all. This may have been due to the fact that she had 3 very different songs from ‘Teenage Kicks’ to ‘I just wanna be loved by you’ and was a fantastic performer wowing us with her beautiful costumes and dancing en pointe.
The Duchess was a fabulously eccentric touch, an opera singer all in white including extra high wig. (Think less Amy Winehouse, more Marie Antionette). Her voice was absolutely beautiful and extremely powerful. Just as I was beginning to think my status as reviewer was going to keep me safe from the cabaret I was accosted by the Duchess and dragged centre stage where she serenaded me. This, I could handle, then a poor man was plucked from the crowd and forced onto his knee in front of me! Although, to be fair, worse things have happened in my life than people being forced by opera singers to worship me….
Ivy’s faberge act was both pre watershed in what was actually revealed but utterly filthy, a difficult combination to master and master it she has.
If you’re looking for demure acts, this isn’t it. Although saying that there was actually a lot less nudity than a lot of burly shows currently running. There’s an intriguing mixture of rawness that belies the fact that a lot of work goes into making the show which is run which a degree of professionalism and forethought that is not the norm. It is quite evident that Ivy has done her research and come up with a formula that works. The show really makes you feel a part of the evening and not a spectator which sets it apart from the standard burlesque night set up with a compere in between the acts which can be quite formulaic. Scandalous was seamless, the very best of low brow and has set the bar for promoters of burlesque everywhere. I can’t wait to see what she has planned next, she has spoiled the PeepToe girls, we want more!

Review of Ivy Paige's Scandalous!

for remotegoat on 17/03/08

If you like a little nudity with your dinner, then Ivy Paige's 'Scandalous' is certainly worth a look.
Set in the basement of the swanky Volupte Bar, the waiters and cast all but grabbed you by the collar and pulled you into the show. With obviously limited resources, Ivy and her ladies of ill repute and slipping corsets did a great job in making the audience feel like they were involved.
Ivy was the highlight of the show, with her smoky voice and wicked humor commanded the audience. I just wish I had seen more of during the show. Like any good mistress, Ivy Paige knows how to delegate the work to her girls, but in her case it is a disappointment. She should spend more time onstage.
Highpoints of the evening included Tamara von Stein and her vocal solo where she combined coquettishness with coloratura. The Marquis Gray, a fun little fop who made sporadic appearances through out the show, gave the impression early on that he would also steal it.
The climax was also not to be missed. A fun night was had by all and it was a very entertaining way to spend a meal. Next time, a bigger helping of Ivy and the Marquis please.