From the New York World Telegram, Apr. 12, 1965
Opera About Passover Is Poignantly Told
Perfect timing brought the premiere of a strong and deeply felt Passover opera on ABC-TV yesterday after. noon.
The poignantly enacted story of a Seder held under threat of machine-gun fire in a Nazi death camp, the one-hour opera by David Amram, with libretto by Arnold Weinstein, was based on a play by Reginald Rose.
With Amram conducting, "The Final Ingredient" was commissioned by the network's "Directions '65" and presented In cooperation with the Jewish Theological Seminary. Historical and liturgical factors were faultless.
Musically, the work is a compromise between a robust modern idiom and tradition, represented by a moving use of part-writing In the passages of prayer and observance. Amram has a true creating gift.
Except for the haunting prelude, the first scene is the weakest musically. There Amram, forced by the need to introduce themes and characters, adopts a dry vocal line I find jarring In modern opera. He soon abandons it for some Of the best operatic writing of our day.
Compellingly sung, acted and staged "The Final Ingredient" was both an act of faith and a milestone for TV.
- LOUIS BANCOLLI