Roberta Cortese was born in Turin, Italy. There she initially attended Classic Studies then graduated in Arts and Literature. She studied operatic singing in Turin and Vienna, where she developed as an actress within the company of Burgtheater. She worked also at Volkstheater, Schauspielhaus, Echoraum, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Schauspielhaus in Graz. With directors like Einar Schleef, Dimiter Gotscheff, Paulus Manker, Arie Zinger, Michael Scheidl and musicians like Peter Eötvös, Peter Keuschnig, Lesch Schmidt, Thomas Desi.
In 2001 she went back to Italy, performing as a singer/actress at Teatro Stabile Torino, Teatro Regio Torino, Festival delle Colline, Teatro Due Parma, Spoleto Festival, Teatro dell’Acquario Cosenza. With directors like Davide Livermore, Walter Le Moli, Lorenzo Fontana and musicians like Sandy Lopicic, Andrea Chenna, Marcello Fera, Fabio Biondi, Minus&Plus. She often collaborated with artist Marzia Migliora and author Elena Pugliese.
From 2002 to 2008 she was dramaturge of the co-founded CineTeatro Baretti in Turin, collaborating with artistic director Davide Livermore.
In 2005 she signed her first opera direction at Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte di Montepulciano, others followed for both opera and theatre. In 2009 she founded with Luigi Chiarella Satyrikon, focusing on contemporary drama and on cross-overs of different expressive forms. Satyrikon is also a blog giving place to unreleased texts of various genres.
Since 2015 she lives in Vienna again: starting from an Audio Intervention by Laura Mello at the MuseumsQuartier, she collaborated with sirene Operntheater and Echoraum. She still works in Italy, too: as an actress in theatrical productions and with own projects in the field of music theatre.
A permanent feature of her work is translating theatrical plays. Among the translated authors there are Dejan Dukovski, Dea Loher, George Tabori, but mainly Elfriede Jelinek, about whom she collected several publications.
In her free time she dedicates to visual arts. Her works are often a result of researches conducted on her theatrical projects, combined with classic references.