Shaham was born in Haifa, Israel; her father was a music teacher. She developed an interest in theatre after attending an arts school. Shaham completed her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States.
Rinat Shaham has sung leading roles with the New York City Opera, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Opéra de Montréal, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Berlin State Opera, Opera Australia and many more.
Shaham has performed as soloist with symphony orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. She has performed with some of the most eminent conductors of the day, including Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, André Previn, Christoph Eschenbach, Leonard Slatkin, Daniel Barenboim, Simone Young, Antonio Pappano, William Christie, David Robertson and Eiji Oue.
Rinat Shaham’s many roles include the title role in Bizet’s Carmen, Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther, Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Mélisande in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Cherubino in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Rosina in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites.
Shaham regularly appears in recitals, which play a central part in her schedule.
She is married to Australian-born violist and filmmaker Peter Bucknell. Her brother is violinist Hagai Shaham.