Have you access to a splatter screen?
It won't change the smell factor, but it contains much of the flying grease. Mine cleans up well in the dishwasher.
As for whether doing it ahead is fine, it probably is, unless your recipe involves leaving any of the meat rather rare. I'm pretty sure that reheating breast meat will cook it through.
Unlike you, I love the smell of duck frying. Although, like you, I dislike the fact that the fat gets everywhere. Such is life.
Certainly browning can be be some while in advance but it'll be better if you timetable it, so that it's not left sitting around before you carry on with however you're going to finish the cooking (but you'll know that this is just standard food hygiene advice)