Der Schauspieldirektor (“The Impresario”) was composed in the spring of 1786 to fulfill a commission from Joseph II for performance during a visit to Vienna by the Governor-General of the Netherlands. The visitors were meant to be entertained with a short German and an Italian musical comedy during a festival arranged on short notice in Schönbrunn Palace. The choice of composers fell to Mozart and Salieri. Both pieces spoofed the theatrical practices of the day. Der Schauspieldirektor, by Gottlieb Stephanie the Younger, has a loosely-constructed plot that hinges on the vanity of opera singers and the empty-headedness of many traveling companies. Frank Lustig wants to create a new theatrical troupe, for which Herr Eiler is willing to supply money, but only on condition that his lady friend is allowed to join. In the course of the piece, appearances are made by other ladies with resonant names who want to be retained as singers and who attempt to outdo each other until reason is allowed to prevail.