Anglada-Camarasa began his artistic career by immersing himself in the vivacious cultural atmosphere of Barcelona, where he was part of a circle of young avant-garde artists such as Pablo Picasso and Santiago Ruisñol, who introduced him to the city's burgeoning Modernisme group, who regularly convened at Els Quatre Gats. Following in the footsteps of many other radical artists and bohemians, he then travelled to Paris to establish his reputation as a talented and revolutionary painter. During his years in Paris he became fascinated with the demi-monde of the city and the exuberance and excitement of their lifestyle. The present painting forms part of a series showcasing the artist’s fascination with the glamour and excitement of the nightlife of fin-du-siecle Paris, exemplified by Fig.1. His brilliant palette influenced artists such as Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinksy, who saw the Spaniard's work when he was studying at the Acadmie Julian in Paris. In the present painting, Anglada-Camerasa captures the drama and flamboyance of the era by contrasting the vibrant, saturated reds and violets of the women’s eyes and lips with the delicate pastel shadows of their exposed flesh. The undulating lines and abstracted colours of the figures and the opera box give the painting a dreamlike and almost otherworldly quality. Although Anglada-Camerasa had studied the traditional academic method of painting the female body, we see him here adopting imaginative techniques to depict women in an inventive and decorative manner; his interest and emphasis is on the decorative rather than realist nature of his subject. It is also a painting about the performative nature of early twentieth-century Paris; although the two women are spectators at the opera, they are also there to be seen and admired. Their expressions and poses are self-conscious and confident
- one even looks out directly at the viewer. The presence of the couple in the background, the man glancing towards the women, makes it clear that they are themselves a spectacle.