Bertocci studied voice in his native Torino, where he also made his debut in 1944. The first few years of his career, he would sing lyrical parts in the Italian provinces: Duca, Alfredo, Rodolfo, Cavaradossi, Rinuccio or Edgardo.
He arrived at La Scala in 1953 (debut as Sentinel in the first staged performance of Pizzetti's Cagliostro). He was to become a Scala mainstay for the next 16 years. Already from 1946, he had specialized in contemporary opera, singing in no less than nine world premieres of works by Pizzetti (including the 1952 concert premiere of Cagliostro), Dallapiccola, Lattuada, Peragallo or Testi, mostly on the radio or at La Scala; he also sang Orff, Busoni, Malipiero, Rocca, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Weill, Janáček, Prokofyev or Casella.
As far as 19th and early 20th century opera, he was not always met with critical acclaim; his roles included Gabriele Adorno, Riccardo (for instance at his sole appearance at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1959), Puccini's des Grieux, Don José, Bacchus or Otello (the first time in 1960 in Toronto).
Reference 1; reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens
I wish to thank Albert Scerri for the recording (Otello).
I wish to thank Paolo Cavassini for the recording (Lombardi).