The Ugly Duckling Narrated by CherWho doesn’t know this timeless tale by Hans Christian Andersen?

Cher narrated this beautiful children’s classic in 1987, part of a series of audio recordings for children on the Windham Hill label.
Learn more about Cher’s interpretation of this classic story and the ethereal music that accompanies her velvety voice.

The Ugly Duckling

First published on November 11, 1843, Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling weaves a melancholy tale of prejudice, rejection, and cruelty culminating in a singular moment of redemption and belonging as the ugly duckling discovers over time that he is not an unattractive duck after all but a handsome, princely swan.

Cher’s Voice Over Performance

Cher’s rich contralto voice tells the tale of The Ugly Duckling with dignity and grace. Serving as narrator, and also providing voices of numerous characters, it was clear that each voice was developed and purposeful. I found the older voices she performed to be entertaining and most colorful. You could keenly feel the sorrow of the bewildered water foul. Cher did very well conveying his fellow creatures’ bitterness as cold comfort in the midst of unfavorable circumstances.

Cher narrates over some exquisitely beautiful music performed by Celtic harp player and spoken word artist, Patrick Ball, including the following pieces:
1. Sheebeg Sheemore
2. Lullaby
3. The Munster Cloak
4. Ode to Whiskey
5. The Three Ravens
6. Mrs. Judge
7. Down by the Sea
8. Carolan’s Ramble to Cashel

Although poignant, there are moments of hope amidst despair, particularly at the end when just as the ugly duckling has lost all will, he is adopted, praised and takes his rightful place, buoyed by a confidently triumphant narrator.
This recording is great for listening to with children during quiet time or just before bed, perhaps even on a car ride to lull littler ones to sleep.

About Cher

Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946, is an American pop singer-songwriter, actor, director and record producer. She has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Any Comments?

Looking forward to hearing what you think!
Best wishes,

Addendum, added on Friday May 15, 2009, re: Benjamin Kurzweil’s version:

Shortly after listening to Cher’s work, I happened to receive a CD from Danish voice talent Benjamin Kurzweil narrating his literal interpretation from the Danish manuscript of The Ugly Duckling and was able to gain more insight into Andersen’s tale.

I found Benjamin Kurzweil’s version of The Ugly Duckling very enchanting. Possibly this is because of his accent and also the depth of his voice and how Benjamin chose to colour the words. Another aspect that was evident to me was how well Benjamin had researched this story and how intimately familiar with it he was.
Benjamin Kurzweil’s recording of The Ugly Duckling on “Mankind, Kind Man – and Other Short Stories” is available through Apple iTunes.


  1. Hello Stephanie,
    Is Cher’s performance of “The Ugly Duckling” an unabridged version? Do you know the duration of this performance?
    Most versions are abridged, hence I am asking.
    An unabriged version should be of around 25 minutes.
    Best regards,
    Benjamin Kurzweil

  2. Hi Benjamin,
    Thank you for your comment and question.
    This version of The Ugly Duckling was adapted by Joel Tuber and Clara Stites. The running time you mentioned sounds spot on, clocking in at 25:41.
    The CD didn’t say that it was abridged, so I think we can safely say that it is the full tale. Here’s a link where the re-released product on DVD may be purchased:
    Best wishes,

  3. “The Ugly Duckling” narrated by Cher is approximately 33:18. Cher narrates this story beautifully. Yes, she changes her voice for the various characters, but she does it so well. It is absolutely soothing. I am in my late 40s, and I put on the audio recording every night before going to bed.

  4. i just love this story. i used to listen to it often as a child. i’m trying to find it again or a recording at least of the beautiful music. does anyone know where to find it? the link to it on this page isn’t working.. xox

  5. Hi Poon,
    I’ve just corrected the link. Patrick has had his website redesigned since this article was published which explains the broken link. If you try again now, you’ll be able to get to Patrick’s music via this link:
    Here’s a direct link to the page on Amazon where the audio recording is being sold:
    Best wishes,