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. She often collaborated with artist Marzia Migliora and author Elena Pugliese and expecially in the last years with music duo Minus&Plus for MyBossWas music and/or video productions.
In Italy she also expanded the spectrum of her activities. From 2002 to 2008 she was dramaturge of the co-founded CineTeatro Baretti in Turin focussing on multiculturalism and music-theatre, collaborating with artistic director Davide Livermore from planning seasons to editing schedules, writing and translating theatrical plays and contributing in the staging of many Italian premières.
In 2005 she signed her first opera direction though soon she turned staging for theatre. After one year spent within the association 15febbraio (with Lorenzo Fontana and Valentina Diana) 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 and “for” Italy, too: as a performer as well as a translator.
Permanent features of her work are the strong bond to music and the continuous “research” on theatrical plays. Her own plays have been performed at CineTeatro Baretti and Teatro Stabile Torino, among the translated authors there are Dejan Dukovski, Dea Loher, George Tabori, but mainly Elfriede Jelinek, about whom she also 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.