Have you tried dodging the area in question, in the process of printing?

I just recently read about this in "Photography" by Charles Swedlund, pg. 220-223
ISBN 0-03-056699-1

. . . says you can use dodging to bring out detail in deep shadows. To lighten and clarify.

Another option might be to use a two-bath developer technique (for negatives) to bring out a range of intermediate tones. Covered on pg. 171