In "Vissi d'arte" from Tosca, she says the following:
Sempre con fè sincera
diedi fiori agl'altar
Diedi gioielli della Madonna al manto
e diedi il canto agli astri, al ciel
che ne ridean più belli
Assuming altar is an apocope of altare, why agl'altar here?
One thought I had was that maybe it was plural:
a gli altari = agli altari = agl'altari = agl'altar
But I couldn't find a single translation that translates it as plural ("altars"). I'm also not sure if this is how Italian works (she also says agli astri without any contraction later).
My question: Are agl'altar and all'altar(e) synonyms? If so, is there a reason to chose one over the other?