Jonathan Bate makes a case for Lope de Vega (1562-1635) as the nearest European contemporary to Shakespeare in range and quality of writing. He was extraordinarily prolific. This summer I am going to dedícate time to reading some of the plays I have not read already. I shall put translations up for those who are interested.
It is hard to know where to start. There are thousands of sonnets, three novels, for novellas, and several hundred comedies. The comedies are where he comes closest to Shakespeare as they derive their plotting from the same Classical sources, principally Plautus. If you have some Spanish you can see filmed versions of some of these plays and a modern biopic that was presented for the Golden Globe awards a few years ago:
The best of the plays I have seen at the cinema was El perro del hortelano. You can follow the clips on YouTube to see the whole thing:
This is the 1996 version that I am sentimentally attached to because I saw it in Sevilla when it was just released. There is also a newer version of a stage production if you are interested:
There is a museum to Lope de Vega in Madrid that is worth a visit. Here is the webpage:
http://casamuseolopedevega.org/en/ There is information about a whole range of activities and small productions on the same site.
Of course, you may prefer to read the texts themselves. Fortunately the huge range of Lope’s work is reduced in number to what you are able to get in translation. I recommend you start with Fuenteovejuna. It is one of the most perenially popular of Lope’s plays in English and has been performed at Stratford, for example. You can get a hold of it at Out of the Wings, a great initiative to make Spanish language drama more generally available. Check it out! http://casamuseolopedevega.org/en/
Keep on reading!