The 2003 movie version of "Cold Mountain" starred Jude Law, above, as a Confederate soldier turned deserter making his way home. The Minnesota Opera has co-commissioned an opera version of the best-selling Civil War saga.

The Minnesota Opera has co-commissioned an adaptation of the best-selling Civil War novel "Cold Mountain," with music by Pulitzer-winning composer Jennifer Higdon. The commission is the latest in a string of new operas with modern cultural roots that Minnesota Opera has been involved with over the last several years -- including "Doubt, "The Manchurian Candidate" and "The Shining" -- through its  $7-million New Works Initiative program.

The novel "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier won the 1997 National Book Award. It tells the story of a Confederate Army deserter making his way home through ravaged terrain toward the end of the war. It was made into a 2003 movie that was nominated for seven Academy awards.

Partners in the commission are The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia. The opera will get its premiere in Santa Fe in the summer of 2015, marking the150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. It will be presented by the Minnesota Opera sometime in 2018.

Higdon, who won a Pulitzer and a Grammy for two separate concertos in 2010, will be joined by librettist Gene Scheer, who wrote the book for an opera version of "Moby Dick."

Jennifer Higdon. Photo by J. Henry Fair.