The lockdown of Spring 2020 allowed Sonya Yoncheva and conductor Leonardo García Alarcón to make the album they had been considering for ten years. Rebirth is a message of hope but also the exploration of an idea: that silence and inactivity are the best preludes to creative renewal. Yoncheva’s fourth solo album for Sony Classical includes music spanning more than five centuries, from folksong to pop, via some of the most powerful moments in seventeenth-century opera. All the music, in Yoncheva’s view, is contemporary. "Certain styles of musical composition have remained surprisingly close to us through 500 years of history, combining enormous emotional thrust with great simplicity," she says. From the dawn of opera and music by Monteverdi, the album plots a thematic journey from the Italy of Cavalli, his pupil Strozzi and heir Stradella to the England of Dowland, Gibbons, and Ferrabosco – whose motet Hear me, O God employs the same four-note theme as ABBA’s Like an Angel Passing Through My Room. After dance-inspired works from Spain and Latin America, and Alarcón’s reconstruction of an aria by Antonio Draghi,
Yoncheva offers a traditional folksong from her Bulgarian homeland. The media were full of praise after Sonya Yoncheva performed her album repertoire at the Salzburg Festival after the lockdown in August 2020. "Music that moves you to tears," wrote the APA and the FAZ raved about her Bulgarian folksong "Zableyalo mi agance" being “an unforgettable emotional experience”.
"This project is of great importance to me," says the soprano. "I would like to highlight the timeless quality of this music, the sense of unlimited freedom that it offers us. It is an appeal for a rebirth, for the renewal our world so desperately needs." Rebirth was recorded in the concert hall of La Chaux-de-Fonds, with Alarcón and his ensemble Cappella Mediterranea, during the first European lockdown. The feeling of the acoustic, Alarcón says, was equivalent to "playing inside a vast lute." Sonya Yoncheva was voted artist of the year by the readers of Opera magazine in 2019 and is a regular guest at the major opera houses of the world.