Born in Erba (Como, Italy). Studied architecture at the Milan
Polytechnic Institute and attended the Accademia di Belle Arti di
Brera. Met Giorgio Strehler in 1955 and started collaborating with
Milan´s Piccolo Teatro as a costume designer.
His early works include Lorca´s La casa de Bernarda Alba (1955) and Brecht´s Drei-Groschen-Oper (1956). He was soon working regularly with Giorgio Strehler. He created The sets and costumes for such renowned productions by Strehler as Pirandello´s I gigante della montagna (1966), Brecht´s Saint Joan of the Stockyards (1970), Shakespeare´s King Lear (1972), Stindberg´s The Thunderstorm (1980), Goldini´s Arlecchino servitore di due padroni (1973, sets revived in 1987), Corneille´s L´illusion (1984), De Filippo´s La grande magia (1985) and Marivaux´ L´оle des esclaves (1994).
Has worked with such outstanding directors as Walter Pagliaro, Virginio Puecher, Nuria Espert (La casa de Bernarda Alba, London, 1987), Roger Planchon (Moliere´s L´avare, Paris, 1988), Andrei Konchalovsky (Chekhov´s The Seagull, Paris, 1988) and Marco Sciaccaluga (Dürrenmatt´s Die Physiker, Geneva, 1990). Has designed over two hundred and fifty productions at major theatres throughout the world.
He has made major breakthroughs in contemporary stage design for musical theatre. Frigerio and Strehler´s productions of the operas Simon Boccanegra (1971) and Falstaff (1980) by Verdi, Wagner´s Lohengrin (1981) and Mozart´s Le nozze di Figaro (1973), Don Giovanni (1987) and Cosi fan tutte (1998, Strehler´s last work) received international acclaim and became classics in 20th century opera history.
Has staged Donizetti´s opera Don Pasquale with Eduardo De Filippo at the Edinburgh Festival (1963), Verdi´s Ernani with Luca Ronconi at La Scala (1982), Cherubini´s Medea at the Paris Opéra with Liliana Cavani (1986) and Richard Strauss´ Elektra with Nuria Espert at La Monnaie in Brussels (1987).
Has designed ballets, working with Roland Petit, Beppe Menegatti, Yuri Grigorovich and Rudolf Nureyev, for whom he designed Prokofiev´s Romeo and Juliet at La Scala (1979).
In 1962 he met Vittorio De Sica and started working in cinema. Has worked with leading Italian and European film directors, among them Bernardo Bertolucci, Mauro Bolognini, Franco Rossi, Renato Castellani, Volker Schlondorff and Jean-Paul Rappenau.