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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Voice of Choice
Small wonder that Barbara Rosenblat, our second annual Voice of Choice, is one of the most respected and recognized names in audiobooks. The recipient of numerous Booklist starred reviews, the winner of six Audie Awards, and the familiar voice of popular adult and children’s favorites, Rosenblat brings extraordinary depth and dimension to everything she reads (more than 400 titles to date). Rosenblat’s professionalism, impact on the audiobook industry, legacy of outstanding work, amazing facility with accents, and continuing popularity with listeners make her an ideal Voice of Choice.
Rosenblat has always had an ear for accents. She says that one of the joys of living in New York is her exposure to a “variety of different voices and tonalities and sounds and vocal attitudes that I can steal and shove into the back of my brain and yank out when I need to find some quirky character from somewhere.”
Producers needing someone proficient in accents often turn to Rosenblat, who, despite her natural ability, works hard at her craft. The starred Booklist review of Miep Gies’ Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family states that “difficult pronunciations of places and people roll off her tongue with ease, accuracy, and consistency.” Rosenblat prepared for this title by working extensively with the Dutch mother of an Oasis (the audio publisher) staff member. They spent hours getting the pronunciation, intonation, and cadence just right.
Rosenblat carefully and painstakingly prepares for all titles she narrates, making extensive lists to check for pronunciation. “In an audiobook, your voice has to be the entire cinematographic fabric of the author’s intent. And my job is to deliver it as best as I know.” With only her voice to create the dynamic between the printed page and the listener, Rosenblat always researches pronunciations, accents, speech patterns, and cadence.
Her voice is instantly recognizable, yet she has an amazing ability to individualize the characters and story. In Katie MacAlister’s paranormal romance Light My Fire, Rosenblat portrays both offbeat human and canine characters. According to Booklist, “Rosenblat’s narrative skills are superb—her clear diction, carefully placed pauses, and appropriate emotion enhance the audio experience. She has an uncanny ability to make listeners believe in the paranormal events of this romantic comedy.”
Many listeners know her as the reader of a number of long-running series, including Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody Emerson titles, which span a 30-year time period. In The Serpent on the Crown, “Rosenblat is completely attuned to Peters’ imaginative and witty writing. She is a master of extraordinarily subtle vocal distinctions, easily differentiating more than two dozen characters with consistency and occasional affection.”
Rosenblat’s flexible voice allows her to reflect time and place with ease. In Kathy Reichs’ novels, featuring forensic expert Temperance Brennan, Rosenblat leaps seamlessly from French Canadian accents to Brennan’s familiar southern tones. In The Nazi Officer’s Wife, by Edith Hahn Beer, her Austrian accent adds authenticity. “She instinctively employs the appropriate weight, tone, pacing, emphasis, and emotional meaning to the challenging text.”
Rosenblat takes justifiable pride and pleasure in her work. Fans frequently contact her through her Web site, and she always responds. She understands the power of audiobooks to take readers away—one fan wrote that listening to a Rosenblat audio helped her endure a long wait in a hospital emergency room. Her audio work does create a problem, though. Whenever Rosenblat reads for fun, she finds herself imagining what that character would sound like or how she would read that section.
Audiobook fans are fortunate to have such a strong and talented advocate. Barbara Rosenblat is a sophisticated and gracious woman of the world who continues to provide listeners with countless hours of entertainment.
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