In Wednesday’s (2/11) New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin reports, “The Metropolitan Opera on Tuesday announced a 2009-10 season notable for shrunken ambitions in a time of economic crisis for the house, for the arts and for the nation. At the same time the company managed to plan for eight new productions, including four operas never seen on the Met stage and several major conducting debuts at the house. Among the highlights announced at a news conference, Angela Gheorghiu will sing Carmen for the first time onstage in a new production of Bizet’s opera; Paulo Szot, who won a Tony for the Lincoln Center Theater production of ‘South Pacific,’ will perform in a new production of Shostakovich’s opera ‘The Nose,’ directed and designed by the artist William Kentridge; and Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko will star in a new production of Offenbach’s ‘Contes d’Hoffmann,’ directed by Bartlett Sher. Pierre Boulez will conduct the Met Orchestra for the first time in a concert at Carnegie Hall.” Previously announced highlights “include Rossini’s ‘Armida’ with Renée Fleming in the title role and Verdi’s ‘Attila’ with Riccardo Muti making his Met conducting debut. … Other new productions include Janacek’s ‘From the House of the Dead,’ with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting in his Met debut, and Puccini’s ‘Tosca,’ with Karita Mattila singing the title role for the first time outside her native Finland.”