The Duel

Be transported back to the eighteenth century as the 1786 standoff between composers Mozart and Salieri is recreated in Government House Ballroom. 

This season is subject to COVID-19 regulations. 

About the event

Music's greatest competition? In 1786 a standoff was held in one of the world’s most lavish palaces. Joseph II (Holy Roman Emperor) had set his tame composers a challenge, pitting the Italian opera style against the German ‘singspiel’. With both pieces performed on the same night, more than pride was at stake. The winner would be feted with commissions and patrons; the loser, fighting for scraps.

In one corner, the established Antonio Salieri set an opera buffa entitled Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the Music, then the Words), and in the other corner the upstart Wolfgang Mozart flew the nationalistic flag with his comedy Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario).

For this re-creation, we invite you to get up close and personal in the intimate surrounds of Government House Ballroom with stages at either end, dinner with your friends and a time machine back to the eighteenth century. Decide for yourself who wins – Mozart or Salieri?

West Australian Opera presents The Duel in association with The University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music

Prima la musica e poi le parole 

Composed by Antonio Salieri.


Der Schauspieldirektor

Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.




Conductor Christopher van Tuinen
Director / Creative Development Humphrey Bower

Prima la musica e poi le parole - Salieri

Donna Eleonora Naomi Johns
The Maestro
Jake Bigwood
The Poet
Lachlann Lawton
Emma Pettemerides

Der Schauspieldirektor - Mozart

Madame Herz Naomi Johns
Mademoiselle Silberklang
Emma Pettemerides

Our event map can be found HERE.

Reserved table seating (10 people per table). You will be seated directly next to other patrons. 

Ticket price includes dinner and beverages.

To download the menu click HERE.

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free alternatives will be provided.

7.00pm Welcome beverage and canapés
8.00pm Prima la musica e poi le parole (Salieri)
Mains followed by petit fours
9.20pm Der Schauspieldirektor (Mozart)
Event concludes

Government House Ballroom and West Australian Opera have COVID-19 Safety Policies in place to maintain your safety at the event. These efforts include:

  • The completion of a COVID safety plan.
  • Hand sanitiser stations readily available.
  • Ongoing frequent deep cleaning regimes across all areas of the venue.
  • COVID safety trained staff in all areas.
  • Use of the WA Government's SafeWA digital contact register system. For more information please click HERE

Please do not attend a live performance if you are unwell. As an interim COVID-19 measure if you are unwell, please contact [email protected] prior to the performance to discuss your options with us. 

Event and ticketing details


Wheelchair Access
Language/sub-title available in english

Dates & Times

DURATION 3 hours including dinner
12 May, 2022 Thursday - 7.00pm
13 May, 2022 Friday - 7.00pm
14 May, 2022 Saturday - 7.00pm
15 May, 2022 Sunday - 7.00pm