The Barber of Seville opens to Kiwi audience

Touted as one of the longest-running operas of all time, the comedy The Barber of Seville has opened to a Kiwi audience.

The story of the match-making barber has had many nods in pop culture over the years, including Woody Woodpecker in 1944, Bugs Bunny, and Mrs Doubtfire.

First performed in 1816, it was set in a time before people went on their phones to find a companion.

"You had the women coming in to fix their wigs and you had all the men probably at least once a week to have a shave," Morgan Pearse, who plays barber Figaro, said.

"It was the perfect opportunity for Figaro - the best barber in town - to set people up with other people."

Figaro is a very confident, exuberant character, created by composer Gioachino Rossini in just 13 days.  

He's got a "healthy level" of self-awareness, Pearse said.

"That's what the aria Largo al factotum is about - he's really selling himself and he's creating his empire," Pearse said.

This New Zealand version is about Figaro setting up his first salon. "His first 'Toni & Guy', called 'Figaro's'," Pearse told Newshub.

The opening of the play in Rome more than 200 years ago was less than ideal.

One singer ended up with a bloodied nose, a stray cat wandered across the stage and refused to leave and several audience members booed.

"Sometimes things do go wrong or they don't go exactly as planned," Pearse said.

"Problem-solving that live on stage is one of my favourite things about performing something live."

This opera promises to bring colour, dynamic performances and laughs.

It opens in Auckland and will head to Wellington and Christchurch.