IT was a challenge when Ben Stephens first stepped away from the mask of musical theatre and performed as himself with The Ten Tenors.
But the 37-year-old Novocastrian hasn't looked back after joining the super group about four years ago.
Having already sold 3.5 million tickets across seven continents, The Ten Tenors are jetting off to the United States today before returning home in May to perform their On Broadway show in which Stephens will perform a solo of Bui-Doi from Miss Saigon.
"It's a very powerful song. It's almost a baritone role so it's a challenge for a tenor to come along and sing in that style," he said.
Stephens began his career in opera, having parts in shows such as The Marriage of Figaro.
He said initially it was a challenge to present himself to an audience with The Ten Tenors, rather than be playing a particular character.
"It was quite a period of adjustment for me to get confident and comfortable to just be out there without being hidden behind a mask," he said.
"It's very exposing but . . . now I actually much prefer it."
The Ten Tenors On Broadway show includes 25 songs, with The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera among them.
"When you break that down into harmonies with 10 different styles of voices, it's really, really powerful," Stephens said.
"I've never seen it in that style before, I've only ever seen it as a solo. What [musical director] Steven Baker has achieved is just remarkable."
The Ten Tenors have released 10 albums, with 2011's Double Platinum the most recent. The Australian tour will take in capital cities across the country. AAP