As far as the group not being In perfect sync, this isn't "Swan Lake" Act 2 and it didn't bother me at all. It's a group of individuals, after all...
Actually I did care that Agon would come off well as a whole ballet, with all its interlocking parts and “visual overtones” intact – rather than being a series of good performances for company members. There are many other ballets for that.
Agon is the one major Balanchine work done in a year at San Francisco Ballet and for the year to come, until Four Temperaments at end of next season. Last spring Symphony in Three Movements – with both its casts, Yuan Yuan Tan & Vito Mazzeo; Sarah van Patten & Carlos Quenedit – was a brilliant success. It too had very difficult counts – as did Shostakovich Trilogy... Some ballets like Agon are important to keep alive for their idea content, the dancers almost invisible within them.
I know this is a minor quibble within the San Francisco Ballet Company topic heading and the comings and going of dancers (of which I'm as much interested as anyone), but the condition of the Balanchine ballets themselves might be of broader interest – somewhere.
Your point is well taken, Quiggin. I found the 2 performances/casts that I saw engrossing, but there were a significant number of "lost in translation" moments. When the opening male Pas de quatre is not well synced I find myself displeased and waiting to be won over. Sylve's and Tan's performances redeemed things for me (and for different reasons), and certain dancers like Hansuke Yamamoto and Molat had many good moments (again though for different reasons). I think I had less of a problem with the Corps and lower-rank dancers who, "just did the steps", than the principals who have a tendency to want to interpret, or add flavor: sometimes it would work for me (Tan comes to mind) but mostly the deviations would make the Balanchine choreography less distinct, less sharp, the constant state of tension, the precariousness, I expect from Agon was dropped a number of times.
It's worth pointing out that it's all a matter of what we compare with - SFB can perform Agon, and the orchestra can play Agon, better than 95% of the companies out there, but is it performed in the manner that the masters intended it? (I've got to include Stravinsky given his close involvement with the project) That is another issue. Those of us who greatly admire Balanchine's work, long for a return to the original approach and aesthetic, but I concede it will never really come again.
Note that Serenade will be in Program 1 in 2015 - and I eagerly await that time. ;)