Volpe, the onetime apprentice carpenter who has run the Met since 1990, has said he will step down after the 2005-06 season.
Two officials at the company told the Times that Domingo, the general director of both the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera, "is quietly pursuing the position" and has met several times with board members at the Met.
Through a spokesman, Domingo said, "Having made artistic and business plans at both the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera as far ahead as 2008-09, I have every intention of following through with those plans." As it happens, his current contracts with both institutions are up at the end of 2005-06.
According to the paper, other candidates on the Met's short list are Deborah Borda, the executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (and the former head of the New York Philharmonic); Lesley Koenig, the general manager of San Francisco Ballet; and Peter Gelb, the president of Sony Classical.
Domingo has a long and storied history as a singer at the Met, starting with his debut in 1968, when he stepped in at the last minute for an ailing Franco Corelli in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur. He has since appeared there for 36 consecutive seasons, singing 41 different roles.