Born in Milan, Brianza studied at the ballet school of La Scala under Carlo Blasis. She went on to dance as the company's prima ballerina in Luigi Manzotti's Excelsior. She toured the United States with the ballet in 1883 and danced it in Saint Petersburg in 1887. Thanks to her popularity there, in 1889 she was hired by the Mariinsky Theatre where she danced with Enrico Cecchetti in Lev Ivanov's The Tulip of Haarlem in 1889. On 15 January 1890, she danced Aurora in the premiere of Marius Petipa's Sleeping Beauty. She continued her dancing career in Vienna, Italy, Paris and London before returning to Paris where she taught until she retired. In 1921, Sergei Diaghilev brought her out of retirement to dance in The Sleeping Beauty. She died in Paris in 1930.
Among Brianza's notable appearances are:
- c. 1883: debut in Luigi Manzotti's Excelsior at La Scala, Milan
- 1883: one of five Star Premiere Danseuses in the Kiralfy Brothers Excelsior in New York
- 1886: as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty staged by Giorgio Saracco, La Scala
- 1887: as the Spirit of Light in Luigi Manzotti's Excelsior, Arcadia Theatre, Saint Petersburg
- 1892: as Sylvia in Sylvia, Arcadia Theatre, St Petersburg
- 1895: Sylvia, La Scala
- 1896: Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, La Scala
- 1921: Carabosse in the Ballets Russes production of The Sleeping Beauty, London
- Nijinska, Bronislava (1992). Bronislava Nijinska--early Memoirs. Duke University Press. pp. 49–. ISBN 978-0-8223-1295-6.
- Wiley, Roland John (1997). The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov: Choreographer of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Oxford University Press. pp. 110–. ISBN 978-0-19-816567-5.
- "Brianza, Carlotta" (in Italian). Treccani.it. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- "Ballet". Core of Culture. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- "Carlotta Brianza". Oxford Index. Retrieved 21 February 2014. Cite journal requires
- "Last Glories of the Italian School". New York Public Library. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
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