Shaham completed her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States.
She developed an interest in theatre after attending an arts school. 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.
Shaham regularly appears in recitals, which play a central part in her schedule. Her brother is violinist Hagai Shaham.
She has recorded excerpts from operas by Jean-Baptiste Lully for Erato and Deutsche Grammophon with William Christie, and Maurice Ravel"s L"enfant et les sortilèges with André Previn. Shaham"s solo Civil Defense of songs by George Gershwin and Henry Purcell, Fantasy in Blue with Fuoco e Cenere ("Fire and Ashes"), was published by ATMA Classique.
Shaham made her feature film debut as "The Jazz Singer" in the 2001 István Szabó film, Taking Sides with Harvey Keitel.