One of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in a character story is via the smooth, gentle voice of Cassandra Campbell. With subtle nuances in her voice, she has the unique ability to evoke characters of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. When approaching a dark or bleak story, her ability to convey a sobering somber tone is second to none.
Edoardo Ballerini’s voice is a lot like his name: smooth, sophisticated, and a joy to hear. If you haven’t yet experienced a book performed by Edoardo Ballerini, dive in to one of the many great feats of fiction he has in his repertoire. Just one example, Beautiful Ruins, is a delight. It takes you from Hollywood to Italy and Edoardo Ballerini travels seamlessly between accents – helping to draw an idyllic picture of the locations, and offering a realistic portrayal of each character.
Robin Miles is known for making us do a double-take to make sure we're not listening to a multi-cast performance. Another master at accents and tones, she slips effortlessly from one character to the next, each bound to be unforgettable.
George Guidall's distinguished, gravelly delivery always makes for a pleasurable listen. His ability to mimic accents - from English to Scottish to Southern lends credibility to his performances.
David Pittu is a unique addition to this list, in that his fiction catalog is smaller than others. But one listen to The Goldfinch is enough to convince us of his immense talent. Pittu's deep, raspy voice is instantly endearing and iconic - making his character work all the more impressive. We're desperate for more performances from this performer - the longer, the better.
TOP CLASSICS NARRATORS:
Richard Armitage first won our hearts with his performance of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark: a Novel. While not technically a classic, the acclaimed actor proved his ability to bring well-known characters to life in a whole new way. With his impeccable recent performance of Dickens’ David Copperfield, he’s sealed his reputation a top voice in the genre.
Juliet Stevenson is one of the great "untanglers" of antiquated language, meaning she has the amazing ability to breath total and immediate sense into words that are pieced together so differently than we would write them today (one of the reasons complex classics are often best experienced in audio). And yet Stevenson doesn't overly modernize. She honors the text with her gentle and loving voice. When required she successfully confers masculinity to the male voices without attempting to impersonate. And when women are meant to be laughable - as is often the case in the works of Jane Austen - she can be ruthless.
Simon Vance has performed some of the most complex classic prose - Dickens, Proust, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy, to name a few. His smooth British accent brings a unique energy and enthusiasm to these tales, making us want to relive our favorites time and time again, as well as tackle those we never quite got around to.
From Shelley to Dahl, Christie to Fleming, Dan Stevens has quickly established himself as a versatile and beloved narrator of British classics. His lilting baritone combined with his nuanced approach to performance allows him to portray a wide range of characters, giving each a distinct and memorable voice.
Simon Prebble's seasoned voice brings an undeniable authority to each classic performance. Though his catalog of classics includes more than 20 books, he earns a spot on this list solely for his performance of 1984, in which he evokes the horrors of Orwell's dystopia with a brand new fervor.