The score is held by the British Library, and is credited thus: "HOME! SWEET HOME!" by H.R. Bishop, Sung by Miss Beaumont, from the opera CLARI OR The Maid of Milan
, in three acts, as performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.
Another source says the melody first appeared in 1821, and was included in an album of national airs which Bishop compiled. Apparently he wanted to include a tune from Sicily, but was unable to find a suitable one, so wrote this and dubbed it Sicilian! He is said to have added the words by the American lyricist John Howard Payne two years later.
The opera was first performed on May 8, 1823, at Covent Garden, and "Home, Sweet Home" was included at the end of Act One, in which it was sung by the soprano Maria Tree. Although this was a good few years before Billboard, the song was an overnight success, not only for opera singers but in drawing rooms and parlours. Soprano Adelina Patti used it as an audition piece, and performed it at the opening of the Chicago Auditorium in the presence of the President of the United States, James Buchanan in 1859. It was sung by Jenny Lind "the Swedish Nightingale" in her concerts from 1850 onwards, and has been sung by such big names as Dames Nellie Melba, Kiri Te Kanawa and Joan Sutherland, the latter who sang it in her last performance at Covent Garden, on New Year's Eve, 1990.
Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2