The American soprano, Susan Hinshaw, studied at Glenn County High School (1956-1960); and obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Theatre from San Jose State University (1960-1965).
Susan Hinshaw has been a professional opera performer and classical singer for over 30 years (1968-2000), with engagements singing leading roles in Europe, the USA, South America and Australia. Frequently described as a “singing actress,” her performances are characterized by sensitivity, dramatic intensity, musicality and passion. Her professional operatic debut was as Violetta in La Traviata at the Lucerne Opera in Switzerland, where she continued to perform many other leading roles including Mimi in La Boheme, The Countess in W.A. Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Ann Truelove in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake‘s Progress, Konstanza in W.A. Mozart's Die Entfuehrung, Norina in Don Pasquale, Margiana in The Barber of Bagdad, Maria in The Bartered Bride, and Lucrezia in I due Foscari. The Zuricher Nachrichten described her performances as “Unquestionably a soprano of the highest order,” and the Luzerner Neuest Nachrichten described her as a "strong yet delicate stage presence…not a prima donna, but a human being, with a wonderful blend of singing and acting."
Composer Gian Carlo Menotti chose Susan Hinshaw as his Magda Sorel in The Consul, a role she performed under his direction for five years in numerous opera houses in the USA, at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, the Teresa Carreno Opera in Caracas, Venezuela, and on television with the Melbourne Opera in Australia. The Barcelona La Vanguardi described her singing in the title role of Salome as "beautiful emission, beautiful phrasing" for the Gran Teatre Del Liceu, a role she later performed for The Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, and for the Radio Television Orchestra Espanola in Madrid. She sang the title role of Turandot at the Kansas City Opera and for the Vlaamse Opera's televised production in Antwerp, Belgium; and, having debuted as Leonora in Fidelio with the Seattle Opera, she repeated the role in Osnabruech, Germany, in concert at Carnegie Hall, and in Buffalo, New York.
Susan Hinshaw sang the role of Minnie in La Fanciulla del West for the Sacramento Opera, the role of Senta in The Flying Dutchman at the Des Moines Opera and at the Santa Fe Opera, the title role of Turandot at the Kansas City Opera and for the Vlaamse Opera's televised production in Antwerp, Belgium; Violetta in La Traviata with the Kaiserslautern Opera, the Graz Opera, and the Hidden Valley Opera in Carmel Valley; The Mother in Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel at the Los Angeles Opera, the title role of Tosca at the Peoria Opera, with Anton Coppola in concert in New York City, and at the Teatro Teresa Carreno in Caracas, Venezuela; Helmwige in Die Walküre with the San Francisco Opera, Donna Anna in W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni with the Hidden Valley Opera and the Western Opera Theater. Other roles performed at Hidden Valley Opera are Fiordiligi in W.A. Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, The Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Lady Billows in Benjamin Britten' Albert Herring, Pauline in Conrad Susa’s Black River, and The Governess in B. Britten's The Turn of the Screw. Having debuted as Leonora in Fidelio with the Seattle Opera, she repeated the role in Osnabruech, Germany, in Buffalo, New York and in concert at Carnegie Hall. She has covered leading roles with the Paris Opera, the LA Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and Opera Barcelona.
Concert appearances include performances with the Radio Orchestra, Madrid, San Jose Symphony, Carmel Bach Festival (1969), Santa Fe Symphony, and Luzern Opera Orchestra.
After almost thirty years of separation, Susan Hinshaw married her High School Sweetheart, Dr. James Hennig and moved to Longview, Washington, where she has an active private vocal studio and was Voice Teacher at Lower Columbia College (1995-2006). She was also Board Member at Columbia Theatre (2005-2010). Since 2005 she is on the Voice Faculty of Portland State University, teaching Classical Voice. Dedicated to helping young singers develop their talents, in 2005 she was selected as one of the "Twelve Outstanding Women in Longview, Washington" by the American Association of University Women for raising the standards of vocal performance in singers in her community. Her other passions are gardening and playing with her Golden Retriever, Harley, and her Siamese cat, Cleo. She currently lives in Longview, Washington.