Dracula in Love AudioFile Best of 2011 Historical Fiction
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë AudioFile Best of 2011 Romantic Fiction, Audie Award 2011
The Red Queen AudioFile Best of 2010 Historical Fiction
Listening for Lions Audie Award 2007
The Thirteenth Tale Audie Award 2007
Bianca Amato says “it’s an absolute joy” being an audiobook narrator. The winner of five AudioFile Earphones Awards and Audies for her performances of LISTENING FOR LIONS and THE SECRET DIARIES OF CHARLOTTE BRONTË says she “stumbled” upon the profession when fellow actor Richard Poe suggested she audition for his wife--Claudia Howard, studio director of Recorded Books. “I was a journeyman actor in New York City, struggling along, and this just kind of fell into my lap. It’s a real blessing. It’s such a wonderful addition to my acting repertoire. In some ways it’s taking over my life more than my stage work, and I do a lot of stage work.”
Amato is currently playing the Queen of Sparta in an off-Broadway production of John Ford’s seventeenth-century tragicomedy “The Broken Heart.” She tells us, “Audiobooks have become very important to me.” In them her lovely voice and impressive performances transport listeners to other eras, other worlds. From British queens to Yorkshire housemaids to nineteenth-century novelists, she is completely invested in the characters she creates. “You can’t do this halfheartedly. You have to be there, in that moment. I think it’s really about creating a world with your voice, and that means that you have to go there.”
Even so, Amato doesn’t over-prepare. “There may be parts where I need to do research, songs that I need to learn, new dialects that I need to learn or brush up on, but I try not to do too much. If I do too much, I’m not being spontaneous. I need to be surprised by myself.” Sometimes surprises have come while recording particularly emotional novels or biographies. “I may read something akin to one of my own experiences, and it’s really very tough to hold on to your emotions and not let them get the better of you.
I just want to weep. When it’s really painful for a character, I go all the way there, with my heart.”
Born and raised in South Africa, Amato now makes her home in New York City, although she travels back to visit family whenever she gets the opportunity. She is a voracious reader and is thrilled that good books are coming alive through audiobooks. In recalling her experience recording COCKTAIL HOUR UNDER THE TREE OF FORGETFULNESS, she says, “It was a wonderful exploration for me because it’s funny and warm, and a frightening story about what it’s like to be a white African. A very moving piece.” She also loves recording the Philippa Gregory books. Then she laughs, “If I had my ‘druthers, I would record every Jane Austen novel--and the Brontës. I know they’ve all been done, but if I could get out all the classics and record them, one by one, I would be so happy. That’s where I feel most at home.”--S.J. Henschel
Photo courtesy of narrator
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