American-born mezzo-soprano Susan Maclean studied acting and singing at the University of Minnesota. Before moving to Europe in 1985 and joining the Zurich Opera House, she received engagements in the USA. After working at the Bielefeld Theatre, the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern, the National Theatre Mannheim and the Leipzig Opera, she moved to the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in 2010. Her extensive repertoire includes the Wagner roles Ortrud ("Lohengrin"), Venus ("Tannhäuser"), Brangäne ("Tristan und Isolde"), Fricka, Erda and Waltraute ("Der Ring des Nibelungen"), Verdi's Amneris ("Aida") and Eboli ("Don Carlo") as well as Didon (Berlioz "Les Troyens"), Princess (Puccini "Suor Angelica") and the R. Strauss roles Amme ("Die Frau ohne Schatten"), Annina ("Der Rosenkavalier") and Adelaide ("Arabella"). She has also appeared regularly on stage as Marie ("Wozzeck" by Berg), Baba the Turk ("The Rake's Progress" by Stravinsky), Landlady/Ebtess ("The Fiery Angel" by Prokofiev) and Gertrud ("Hansel and Gretel" by Humperdinck). Guest engagements have taken her to the Bavarian State Opera, Semperoper Dresden, Lille, Barcelona, Strasbourg and Luxembourg, among others. From 2010 to 2012 she was engaged as Kundry at the Bayreuth Festival. She also celebrated great successes in Wolfgang Rihm's "Das Gehege" in Amsterdam and as Kundry and Geneviève (Debussy "Pelléas et Mélisande") in Antwerp. Susan Maclean's recent stage appearances at Deutsche Oper am Rhein have included the leading role in Diana Syrse's "The Kiosk", Erda, Schwertleite (Wagner "Die Walküre"), Die öffentliche Meinung (Offenbach "Orpheus in der Unterwelt"), 3rd Lady (Mozart "Die Zauberflöte") and Marcellina (Mozart "Le nozze di Figaro") and Mary (Wagner "Der fliegende Holländer").
Her roles for the 2023/24 season include Golde (Bock "Anatevka"), Mrs. Muldoon in Manfred Trojahn's world premiere "Septembersonate" and again Die öffentliche Meinung and Marquise de Berkenfield (Donizetti "La Fille du régiment").