|courtesy of singtao.com|
Famous Cantonese Opera performer and the first Guangdong province literature and art lifetime achievement award recipient Law Kar Bo two nights ago passed away at age 86. As soon as the news spread, Cantonese Opera fans of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau eulogized this Cantonese Opera masters who founded the "Shrimp Tone" style. His cousin Law Kar Ying on social platform expressed his sorrow. Law Kar Ying said, "Brother Shrimp had many students and successors. He made a lifetime of contribution to Cantonese Opera. I wish Brother Shrimp would reach Sukhavati. The Cantonese Opera world would remember you forever." Brother Kar Ying's wife Liza Wang Ming Chuen also said that she would deeply remember this master of a generation. Law Kar Bo's farewell ceremony will take place on the 29th at 3PM at the Guangzhou Funeral Home.
Known to everyone as "Brother Shrimp", Law Kar Bo came from a Cantonese Opera family. His father was the family percussionist Law Kar Shu. His Cantonese Opera representative work LIU YI DELIVERS A LETTER since its 1950 debut has been performed countless times. This opera also spread Law Kar Bo's "Shrimp Tone" far and wide and at the same time solidified his Cantonese Opera position. Law Kar Bo's "Shrimp Tone" was easy to learn and perform, great to listen to and flavorful. Opera fans who were familiar with Law Kar Bo knew that he was easy going and had the aura of the regular person. Thus the outside liked to call him the "Commoner Lao Guan".
"Master has always liked this title." Famous Cantonese Opera performer Lau Kin Fo was Law Kar Bo's disciple. He kept lamenting how humble and studious his mentor was. "He personally loved to read, he also often told us his disciples to read more books". Lau Kin Fo told reporters, Master always said that actors must have culture and artistic class to be able to elevate even better.
Becoming Law Kar Bo's disciple in 2009, Lau Kin Fo only had a six year relationship with him but has watched his mentor since childhood. He liked his singing tone. After becoming his disciple, Lau Kin For liked to record his mentor's live performances on digital video then showed him at his home. "Sometimes as soon as we played it we would watch for over two hours. He would definitely watch in detail from the beginning to the end, seriously study every detail of the performance." Normally, the master and the disciple would suggest adjustments through these performance details.
"When he talked about opera, his spirit would rise. No one would be able to tell that he has been ailing for years." Lau Kin For lamented that Master in his final years was still enthusiastic about developing Cantonese Opera. When he was invited to attend events he would be very excited and looked forward to participating."
"Because of attending outside events, he kept his back straight and persisted until the end. However later he was afraid that his body couldn't persist, he would regrettably turn down invitations because leaving earlier would create negative influence." Speaking of his master, Lau Kin Fo had many stories, each one filled him with sentiment.
"Master not only was demanding of the disciples with Cantonese Opera performance. In life he was always on time and disliked others being late. He would never permit himself to be late to any event." Lau Kin Fo said that Master lived in Panyu. Sometimes he would meet disciples in the Guangzhou old district for morning tea at 8AM. He definitely would leave from home at 6AM. Often he would be a hour early.
Law Kar Bo spared no energy in cultivating new comers. Famous Cantonese Opera diva Chiang Man Shui recalled, "When I graduated from Cantonese Opera school I was assigned to the Cantonese Opera Theater Second Troupe, the same troupe as Uncle Shrimp. At the time Uncle Shrimp in order to cultivate youth rearranged LEGEND OF THE WHITE SNAKE for me as my graduation dowry scene. He also created a new opera XI YU FENG YAN XI YU QING, in which we were father and daughter and had many scenes together. Uncle Shrimp always told me to read more, all kinds of books, movies, foreign films, Westerners' eyes were especially dramatic."
Famous Cantonese Opera actor Au Hoi Ming was filled with respect when talking about Law Kar Bo. "He loved and was very protective of young Cantonese Opera actors". Au Hoi Ming remembered that once he performed at a Foshan farm village. Law Kar Bo rushed over after finding out. Seeing Law Kar Bo, Au Hoi Ming deliberately performed a few verses of his opera. Law Kar Bo was so happy that he stated, "This kid, this kid" full of love and care. Au Hoi Ming said that when an older Cantonese Opera veteran was able to show his support in person, to every young actor it was very encouraging.
Guangdong Cantonese Opera Theater chief Ding Fan said, "Mr. Law Kar Bo was a treasure of Cantonese Opera. The 'Shrimp Tone' that he founded was popular around the world, a rare achievement in the Cantonese Opera art world. His classic work LIU YI DELIVERS A LETTER and FORTY YEARS OF CHERISHED LOVE were held with high regards in the Cantonese Opera world." Ding Fan continued, Guangdong Cantonese Opera Theater and many actors in other troupes were studying Law Kar Bo's artistic style. Law Kar Bo cultivated many actors and many students. In recent years, Law Kar Bo's health has not been great, but his heart has always been tied to the growth and development of young actors. As long as his body permitted he would attend various events at the Cantonese Opera Theater.