On Tommy

Ryan Patrick McDonald

Bringing Music to Life

How much further ahead could we be, had we not lost a generation of queer artists to HIV/AIDS? Ryan Patrick McDonald delves into what might have been, and the impact of this loss on the art world and on themself.

Reflecting on on their own inspiration as an artist, Ryan frames their recital through a tribute to Tommy Sexton, the first queer artist they felt a real connection to. With the blessing of Tommy’s sister Mary, Ryan sings three pieces, each one reflecting a remarkable element of his life: his art, his relationship with his mother, and his relationship with fellow artists.

On Tommy is a a meditation on what might have been had the world not lost a generation of queer artists and creators to HIV/AIDS. This video frames the work of contemporary queer through the lens of a fragmented queer history all while paying homage to one of Canada’s greatest queer artists, Tommy Sexton.” – Ryan Patrick McDonald, February 2022

Countertenor Ryan McDonald is thrilled to be joining Pacific Opera Victoria’s Civic Engagement Quartet. A recent Encouragement Award winner from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition, Ryan McDonald has been seen on stage as Athamas in Handel’s Semele, First Witch and Spirit in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, L’enfant in Ravels L’enfant et les sortilèges, Cupid in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Jack in Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

Music Alive Recitals

Simon Chalifoux
Mike Fan
Rebecca Gray


Alex Chen
Tim Carter

Listen as Ryan chats about the making of and inspiration behind On Tommy on CBC Newfoundland’s St. John’s Morning Show here!