Carla Ricotti studied stage design at the Accademia di Belle Arte di Brera, where she currently teaches accessory design. Since the 1990s, Carla Ricotti has worked with a number of different set and costume designers, including among others Luisa Spinatelli, J. Ivory, Jean Paul Gaultier, W. Orlandi, J.F. McFarlane, and Luciana Arrighi. In 1995, she made her debut as both set and costume designer in productions of Calderón de la Barca´s The Great Theatre of the World, and Cervantes´ A World of Marvels(Florence, Chiostro delle Oblate), followed in 1996 by a production of Gogol´s Dead Souls (Milan, Teatro Franco Parenti), all stage-directed by Guido De Monticelli. In 1997, she started to work intensively with Stefano De Luca, designing the sets and costumes for the following productions: Collodi´s Pinocchio and Saint-Exupéry´s The Little Prince (Milan, Piccolo Teatro), Jarry´s Ubu Roi (Timisoara, National Theatre), V. Alfieri´s Oreste (Vicenza, Teatro Olimpico), and Agatha Christie´s The Mousetrap (Turin, Teatro Gioiello). Her other creations have included costumes for Luigi Pirandello´s Cap and Bells and Each in His Own Way, directed by Guilio Bosetti (Milan, Teatro Carcano). She has designed both sets and costumes for stagings of Macbeth Clan (dir. Angelo Longoni, Milan, Teatro Studio), and Born under the Opposite Signs (dir. Leo Muscato, Ascoli, Teatro Ventidio Basso).
She made her debut in opera in 1966, with costumes for Piccinni´s L´Americano (dir. De Monticelli, Valle d´Itria Festival), followed by costumes for Verdi´s Simone Boccanegra (dir. Giovanna Maresta, Messina, Teatro Vittorio Emanuele), Nino Rota´s I due timidi (dir. Ugo Gregoretti, Bari, Arena della Vittoria), and Bizet’s Carmen (the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki). Since 2001, she has worked intensively with the director Arnaud Bernard, for whom she has designed costumes for Meyerbeer´s Les Huguénots (Valle d´Itria Festival), Verdi´s Luisa Miller (Enschede, Nationale Reisopera), Massenet´s Le roi de Lahore (Venice, Teatro La Fenice) and Verdi’s La traviata for the Prague State Opera (2006).